Investment firm offers to buy Vancouver, B.C.-based biotech Zymeworks for $733M in cash

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Zymeworks CEO Kenneth Galbraith. (Zymeworks Photo)

Global investment firm All Blue Capital has offered to buy Zymeworksa public biotech company based in Vancouver, BC, with operations in Seattle.

All Blue delivered a letter to the Zymeworks board on Thursday offering to acquire the company for $ 10.50 per share, for a total of $ 773 million in cash, according to a regulatory filing.

The non-binding proposal offers a share price more than twice the $ 4.88 value at market close on Wednesday. The stock gained more than 30% in after-hours trading on Thursday, after Reuters first reported the bid.

“We believe that the Company has suffered from severe value erosion due to a number of serious missteps by an unfocused leadership with no clear strategy for improving performance,” All Blue’s letter to the board said.

Zymeworks has been through a series of recent shakeups, and replaced its CEO in January with industry veteran Kenneth Galbraith. Galbraith announced plans to lay off a quarter of the company’s workforce amid a “streamlined” R&D strategy focused on its clinical oncology programs. The company also raised $ 100 million in January in a public offering, pricing its shares around $ 8, far below a high of more than $ 50 early last year.

Dubai-based All Blue Capital currently owns close to 5.5% of Zymeworks’ shares. The firm’s investments include Pinterest, SpaceX, Peloton, Lyft and other tech-focused companies.

Zymeworks is developing “bispecific antibodies” that recognize two different molecular targets simultaneously, as well as other types of treatments. Its lead candidate is a late-stage clinical trials.

GeekWire has reached out to Zymeworks for comment and will update this story when we hear back.

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