Vickers Venture Partners’ Nasdaq-listed special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Vickers Vantage Corp I (VCKA) is merging with Scilex Holding Company (Scilex), a majority-owned subsidiary of US pharma firm Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc and a commercial biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing non-opioid therapies for patients with acute and chronic pain.

In a statement on Friday, Sorrento Therapeutics said the combined company is expected to have funds of up to $140 million held in the SPAC’s trust account at closing before expenses, assuming no redemptions from VCKA’s existing public shareholders, and will be led by Scilex’s experienced management team, headed by Jaisim Shah, Chief Executive Officer.

The combined company might raise additional capital through a private investment in public equity (PIPE) or other financing method as it might see fit for the business, although there are no specific plans for such an offering at this time.

Available proceeds from the transaction are expected to fund commercialization plans for SP-102 (SEMDEXA™), if approved, along with potential Phase 3 and Phase 2 clinical development programs.

Scilex also intends to pursue additional indications for SP-102 (SEMDEXA™) in the future. It also plans to use the funding from the transaction to bolster the continued build out of the commercial team, enhance business development activities and support general corporate activities.

The merger is expected to close by the third quarter of 2022, and the combined company’s common stock is expected to be listed on Nasdaq under the new ticker symbol “SCLX”.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with the team at Scilex. We believe Scilex is a uniquely compelling company with excellent non-opioid pain management therapies, which we expect may become cornerstone therapies for treating many acute and chronic pain conditions worldwide,” said Dr. Jeffrey Chi, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of VCKA and Vice Chairman of Vickers Venture Partners.

Meanwhile, Henry Ji, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sorrento and Executive Chairman of Scilex said :”Scilex was advanced through key milestones, and we are proud of Scilex’s continued path of success, most notably with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval and commercialization of ZTlido along with the highly significant positive top-line pivotal Phase 3 results of SP-102 (SEMDEXA) previously announced in December 2021.”

“With Scilex on its way to becoming a publicly-traded entity, our unique model continues to demonstrate the multiple ways in which we are generating value at Sorrento, including equity stakes in public and private entities, royalties and milestone payments due to us from certain proprietary products, pharma collaborations worldwide to advance core programs, and most importantly, our rapidly progressing and advanced wholly-owned pipeline which we see as our major value driver going forward. In addition to Sorrento’s advanced pipeline of oncology, immunology and virology assets, its wholly and majority owned subsidiaries are an additional source of value and Scilex is now set to join the growing list of publicly-traded entities in which Sorrento is an investor, which also include Celularity Inc., which was funded by Sorrento at its inception,” he added.

Jaisim Shah, Chief Executive Officer of Scilex, on the other hand, said :”I am proud of the many landmark milestones delivered by the Scilex team this past year, including completion of our phase 3 study for SP-102 (SEMDEXA™) and a highly successful pivotal Phase 3 program demonstrating robust efficacy and safety in sciatica patients and the upcoming expected initiation of broad Phase 1 and 2 non-opioid programs for SP-102 (SEMDEXA™) with both first-in-class and best-in-class potential in multiple areas of acute and chronic pain with high unmet patient need.”

“We believe the efficacy and safety profile demonstrated by SP-102 (SEMDEXA™) to date and the observed duration of effect represent important differentiating features of this potentially first-to-market non-opioid candidate for the many millions of sciatica patients who are confronting this very painful condition. I would like to thank the team at VCKA and existing shareholders and all of the teams at Scilex and Sorrento and our advisors for their dedication in preparing for this business combination. Today’s transaction will allow us to continue to pursue our vision to enhance lives for millions of patients with acute and chronic pain conditions,” he added.

Healthcare-focused PE firm Quadria Capital mulls SPAC listing in Singapore – report