Serendipity is the word Alan Joslyn uses to describe the meeting and eventual acquisition of a Gainesville-based biotech firm.
“It’s not every day all of a sudden a private company falls in your lap that’s working in COVID-19,” Joslyn, CEO of Oragenics, said. “We thought, ‘Wow, is this for real?'”
The pair met through their lawyer, based in Tampa, and in just two weeks a deal was made: Oragenics would acquire Noachis Terra Inc. and with it, a National Institute of Health license for its work on a coronavirus vaccine.
“They were a private company looking for, essentially, access to capital,” Joslyn said. “We had cash and also a public listing on NYSE. The combination to finance the license [they received for their work] and our desire to expand our portfolio, it was a good match.”
The company was acquired from Joseph Hernandez, the founder and sole shareholder of Noachis Terra for $1.9 million in cash and 9.2 million shares of Oragenics’ stock. Noachis Terra had already acquired a National Institutes of Health license, which works as a patent of sorts and gives the nonexclusive right to make and use technology, which will be evaluated for its commercial potential.