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Alexandria Exits Agtech Bet, Withdrawing $250M SPAC

Alexandria Real Estate Equities Chairman Joel Marcus

The largest life sciences real estate developer has backtracked on a planned $250M special-purpose acquisition company focused on agricultural and climate innovation tech, perhaps a further sign of a cooling venture capital market.

The blank check company launched by Alexandria Real Estate Equities, to be called Alexandria Agtech/Climate Innovation Acquisition, withdrew plans for an IPO on Wednesday.

“The new SEC rules make SPACs very difficult vehicles going forward for all parties,” Alexandria founder and Chairman Joel Marcus told Bisnow in an email.

In initial paperwork filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission last year, Alexandria expressed confidence in the space and the market opportunity, arguing that climate and agricultural tech, akin to early life sciences development, presented opportunities because they were grossly underfunded relative to their importance and potential and that Alexandria is “ideally positioned to harness the potential of these sectors.”

The SPAC withdrawal comes as funding for biotech firms, and tech in general, has fallen significantly in early 2022 after peaking in 2021.

Marcus commented on this new funding reality during a quarterly earnings call this year, stating there was now a “have and have-not” division within the life sciences. On one side are small and mid-cap biotech firms with preclinical research that have seen their values drop, he said. On the other side are larger biotech firms and those that have reached commercial stages that are “flush with cash," Marcus said.