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Bill Gates-Backed Biotech Preps SPAC Deal with New Legal Chief

April 16, 2021, 8:31 PM

Bill Gates-backed robotics company Vicarious Surgical Inc., which this week announced a SPAC merger with D8 Holdings Corp. hired a new top lawyer in the weeks prior to the transaction.

June Morris joined Charleston, Mass.-based Vicarious Surgical as general counsel and chief legal officer last month after serving as general counsel at private consulting firm FT Management and Associates. Her appointment was announced March 16 along with that of William Kelly as the company’s chief financial officer.

Vicarious Surgical’s merger with Hong Kong-based SPAC D8 Holdings is expected to close in the third quarter. The combined company will be valued at about $1.1 billion, according to an April 15 statement, and will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange with ticker symbol “RBOT.”

Vicarious Surgical joins the slew of life sciences companies that have gone or planned to go public via SPAC merger in recent months. Vincerx Pharma Inc. went public in January and hired Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman lawyer Tom Thomas as general counsel in March, and Tango Therapeutics announced its own SPAC merger Friday.

Vicarious Surgical, founded in 2014, produces surgical robots that are designed to make procedures more efficient and less invasive and expensive. The company has attracted investment from Gates, as well as former Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors.

Morris previously worked at FT Management & Associates as both managing partner and general counsel and was with Northern Power Systems Inc. and Picis Inc. before that. From 1999 to 2004, she served as top lawyer at Pegasystems, which focused in part on providing software and services to the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare institutions.

“I am honored to join this entrepreneurial team and to be part of such an innovative, breakthrough technology that will truly make a difference in the healthcare system and in patients’ lives,” Morris said in a statement following her hire at Vicarious Surgical last month.

Both the company and Morris declined to comment for this story.

Credit Suisse Group and Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo advised Vicarious Surgical on its SPAC merger, and UBS Investment Bank and White & Case advised D8 Holdings, according to Thursday’s statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ruiqi Chen in Washington, D.C. at rchen@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com

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