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About the Author:
Tracy Marshbanks, Ph.D.
Managing Director
Tracy Marshbanks is a managing director. He works with companies in a variety of sectors, particularly businesses where chemical and medical technologies are a key differentiating element. He is a thought leader in his sectors, authoring research and using his industry knowledge and expansive network to uncover promising investment opportunities and help companies navigate their strategic paths and accelerate growth. Prior to joining First Analysis in 1999, he held a number of positions with Amoco Corp. with responsibilities ranging from refining research and development to capital planning (first in petroleum refining and then in marketing). He earned an MBA from the University of Chicago, a doctorate in chemical engineering from Purdue University, and a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Colorado State University.
First Analysis Process Technology Team
Tracy Marshbanks, Ph.D.
Managing Director
Eric Terhorst
Senior Vice President
Matthew Nicklin
Managing Director
Joseph Munda
Senior Vice President
First Analysis Quarterly Insights
Process Technology
Drug discovery "rocket scientist" team expands
April 22, 2021
  • In our last Process Technology Quarterly Insights, we profiled what we termed the drug discovery rocket scientists: companies using unique model systems, data analysis and advanced algorithms to discover and advance drug candidates. This quarter we highlight a new entrant to the space, Vyant Bio (VYNT), formed from the merger of Cancer Genetics and StemoniX.
  • Vyant is an interesting combination of Cancer Genetics' vivoPharm business, which focuses on preclinical and clinical drug development and testing, and StemoniX's class-leading human organoid and computational prowess. The resulting human-biology-first, integrated biological, computational, and experimental technology platform appears to have the potential to make significant contributions to drug development, especially in human-centric diseases that have no adequate animal or in vitro models.
  • Prior to the merger, privately held StemoniX was primarily a drug discovery technology provider (providing assays or service), while publicly traded Cancer Genetics was a preclinical analytical and regulatory service provider on a fee-for-service basis. As Vyant, they will focus on integrated drug discovery, developing proprietary drug leads and preclinical and clinical leads within biopharma-funded partnerships that provide Vyant economic interests in the drugs it enables.
  • While the rest of the profiled "rocket scientist" group - Schrodinger (SDGR), BioXcel (BTAI), SimulationsPlus (SLP), Viva Biotech (1873.HK), and Codexis (CDXS) - entered a lower orbit during the quarter as their stock prices generally declined, we continue to believe this sector has the potential to fundamentally transform human health just as rocket science fundamentally transformed our economy and society.


Merger completed in March



Customer relationships

Rocket-science potential

Process technology index declined and recovered in Q1

After three sluggish quarters, process technology M&A activity rebounds

Q1 private placements continue to accelerate

Merger completed in March

The definitive merger agreement that created Vyant, announced in August 2020, was structured as a reverse merger with conditions that included a requirement to raise $10 million for the combined entity. On Jan. 28, Cancer Genetics announced a $10 million private placement at $3.625 per share, with the proceeds to be available to the combined company when the merger closed. On Feb. 10, Cancer Genetics announced a $17.5 million registered direct offering at $6.30 per share. Following the required shareholder approval, announced March 25, the merged company began trading under the ticker VYNT on March 31. We look at three factors as being key to Vyant's ability to realize its potential: team, technology and customer relationships.

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