Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
America's economy won't reopen anytime soon, despite frantic CEO whispers, but a glimmer of hope may be emerging in the form of serological testing.
How it works, per Axios' Alison Snyder and Eileen Drage O'Reilly:
Driving the news: Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, a New Jersey company that the Carlyle Group carved out of Johnson & Johnson in 2014, is beginning mass production of serologic tests that will be able to be run on the company's already-installed analyzers in more than 1,000 U.S. hospital and reference labs.
But, but, but: It is not yet 100% certain that people with the antibodies will be immune, particularly if the virus mutates, or how long any immunity would last. So far, the optimism is a highly educated guess.
The bottom line: People are unlikely to work or shop while still fearful of getting sick, even if politicians remove shelter-in-place orders. Serologic tests at scale, from Ortho and hopefully from others, could be the safety blanket that warms our economic engine.
• More PE-backed good news: Apollo Global Management has sourced and will donate 200,000 KN95 masks to New York City hospitals (100k, the first 10k of which were delivered to Elmhurst Hospital on Friday) and to New York State (the other 1ook).
• PE-backed bad news: Medical staffing firms, including KKR-backed Envision Healthcare and Blackstone-backed TeamHealth, are cutting pay and benefits for some of their emergency room workers, per ProPublica:
"The staffing companies said they’re responding to dropping revenue as non-coronavirus patients avoid the ER and hospitals cancel elective procedures. The companies also emphasize that they’re not cutting physicians’ hourly rates.
But by assigning fewer hours to doctors and other providers such as physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners, the companies are effectively paying them less. It also means that some hospitals have fewer clinicians working in the ER at a time."
Platinum Equity completed its acquisition of Italian wine distributor Farnese Group from NB Renaissance Partners.
Today's project is for your kid(s) to build a fort. I know, some of them might already do this regularly. If so, ask them to step up their game. They should add flags, or something besides just couch cushions, etc. The. Best. Fort. Ever.
On Friday, I asked your kid(s) to make a thank you card or sign. Some of what came in:
• PsiQuantum, a Palo Alto-based developer of a commercial quantum computer, raised $215 million. Atomico led, and was joined by BlackRock, Founders Fund, and Redpoint Ventures. http://axios.link/cU8i
• Intellifusion, a Chinese AI chipmaker, raised $141 million in new funding from Utrust VC, Forebright Capital, Walden International, CCB International, BOCOM International, BOC & Trust Private Equity Fund, Topping Capital, Tsinghua Holdings Capital, HCSD Capital, Sino-US VC, and Sirius Capital. http://axios.link/IxLO
• Pure Harvest Smart Farms, a UAE-based greenhouse developer, secured an equity commitment of up to $100 million from Kuwaiti investment firm Wafra. http://axios.link/JfAj
• Privitar, a London-based data privacy platform, raised $80 million in Series C funding. Warburg Pincus led, and was joined by Accel, Partech, IQ Capital, Salesforce Ventures, and ABN AMRO Ventures. www.privitar.com
• Swiggy, an Indian food delivery company, raised $43 million in new Series I funding (round total now $154m) from Ark Impact, Korea Investment Partners, Samsung Ventures, Mirae Asset Management, and return backer Tencent. http://axios.link/AH22
• Phantom AI, a Burlingame, Calif.-based vehicle-agnostic autonomous driving platform, raised $22 million in Series A funding. Celeres Investments led, and was joined by Ford Motor Co., KT, and return backers Millennium Technology Value Partners and DSC Investment. http://axios.link/IHr4
• Lessonly, an Indianapolis-based online training platform for teams, raised $15 million in Series C funding. AXA Venture Partners led, and was joined by Zendesk, Allos Ventures, Atlas Peak Capital, Rethink Education, and The Yard Ventures. http://axios.link/c63i
• Yapily, a London-based open banking startup, raised $13 million in Series A funding. Lakestar led, and was joined by seed backer HV Holtzbrinck Ventures and LocalGlobe. http://axios.link/b2l3
• Ably, a London-based data streaming platform, raised $7 million in Series A funding. MMC Ventures led, and was joined by Forward Partners. http://axios.link/2gSe
• Tailscale, a Toronto-based corporate VPN startup, raised C$3 million in seed funding. Heavybit led, and was joined by Uncork Capital. http://axios.link/Zezt
🤡 Cirque du Soleil is in talks with Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec about rescue financing, per Bloomberg. The Montreal-based circus company, acquired by TPG in 2015, laid off most of its staff after coronavirus required it to cancel its shows. http://axios.link/LHSO
• Pine Island Capital Partners and Bain Capital Credit acquired Precinmac, a manufacturer of high-precision machined components and assemblies for the aerospace & defense, semiconductor, and general industrials sectors. www.precinmac.com
🚑 WeDoctor, a Chinese mobile medical scheduling and information company backed by Tencent, dropped Credit Suisse from the list of banks for its upcming $1 billion IPO. Credit Suisse was among the IPO bankers for Luckin' Coffee, which recently admitted to inflating its revenue. http://axios.link/cRRj
• Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) acquired Voysis, an Ireland-based natural language platform for digital voice assistants. Voysis had raised around $10 million from Enterprise Ireland and Polaris Partners. http://axios.link/ihwK
• Bruin Sports Capital shelved the sale process for Deltatre, an Italy-based provider of back-end streaming tech for sports and entertainment, per Bloomberg. Earlier reports were that Deltatre could fetch €1 billion. http://axios.link/VasX
• Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) agreed to buy Fluidmesh Networks, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based provider of wireless backhaul systems. Sellers include Generation3 Capital and Waveland Investment. www.fluidmesh.com
• Koch Equity Development completed the purchase of the 30% stake it didn't already own in enterprise cloud software company Infor from Golden Gate Capital, at an enterprise value of around $13 billion.
• Voodoo, a French mobile game maker, is considering a sale process that could net more than €1.5 billion, per Bloomberg. Backers include Goldman Sachs’ West Street Capital Partners. http://axios.link/ugyV
• GrubMarket, a San Francisco-based farm-to-table food delivery service, acquired smaller Charlestown, Mass.-based rival Boston Organics. GrubMarket has raised $112 million in VC funding. http://axios.link/RGNy
• Alamar Partners has launched as a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based investment firm focused on acquiring and operating a single small business. It’s led by Chris Lueck and Ben Knoll, the former CEO and CFO of e-commerce billing platform FastSpring.
• Silver Lake plans to seek $16 billion for its sixth flagship fund, per Reuters. http://axios.link/14vA
• Jason Mok joined Andreessen Horowitz as an operating partner and head of the VC firm’s corporate development team. He previously spent 16 years with Silicon Valley Bank. www.a16z.com
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