Commercial Following a $34 million transaction, ADHD game creator Akili...

Following a $34 million transaction, ADHD game creator Akili Interactive will go private


Akili Interactive, a firm that develops medical applications, announced earlier this year that it would begin selling off its assets and cutting nearly half its workforce. Virtual Therapeutics, which develops and sells virtual reality software for mental health and well-being, will provide approximately $34 million to buy the rest of Akili.

This translates into an 85 percent premium to Akili’s Nasdaq stock price when it announced in April that it was in search of a partner, and a 4 percent premium to the price it was trading at this week, before the announcement of the deal.

The transaction comes two years after the prescription video game developer first made the curtain rise on a SPAC deal to go public with a valuation of about $1 billion, which netted Akili approximately $163 million.

However, during the latter part of 2023, the company began rounds of significant layoffs, abandoned some of its product development efforts, and shifted its business model towards selling one of its software products targeting attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults online without a prescription.

In April, Akili slashed its workforce by roughly 46%, affecting sections such as marketing and medical affairs, but assured it would continue supporting current customers. The company also confirmed it will pursue approval of its EndeavorOTC software, for which it is awaiting FDA approval.

“We received a comprehensive strategic exercise from Akili, and we are convinced that this deal reflects Akili’s commitment to its stockholders,” stated CEO Matt Franklin.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the third quarter of this year, after which Akili will become a subsidiary of Virtual Therapeutics and will be delisted from public trading. Washington state-based Virtual Therapeutics is a former subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group.

“In particular, the team at Akili has achieved impressive results by developing methods for identifying and advancing new products in the clinical and scientific fields, and we are confident that their experience will help us,” explained Virtual Therapeutics founder Dan Elenbaas. “We aim to create a company that can deliver these behavioral services to as many patients as possible, even if they are geographically dispersed or face limitations in the current times.”

Earlier this month, Akili disclosed $383,000 in revenue for the first quarter ended March 31, compared to $749,000 in the previous quarter. The company’s spending cuts included reduced advertising to pursue EndeavorOTC.

This follows a situation where digital app developer Better Therapeutics handed over its assets to Click Therapeutics after initiating the process of selling its assets in March. Click said it intends to redesign Better’s AspyreRx program for Type 2 diabetes into an app that will also manage obesity and GLP-1 medication dosage. Some of the material conditions of that arrangement remain unknown to the public.

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