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Rockley Photonics files for bankruptcy

Claire Rychlewski
Jan 27, 2023
Illustration of a health plus with darts all around it, as if they've missed the target.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Wearable-sensor maker Rockley Photonics, which touted high-profile strategic partnerships with Apple and Medtronic, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week.

Why it matters: Having gone public via SPAC in 2021, Rockley is the latest domino to fall in what will likely be a continuing reckoning for the SPAC market.

Details: In the bankruptcy petition filed Monday, Rockley asked to be allowed to proceed as a “debtor in possession,” which would let the company to continue operating without interruption.

  • Per the filing, Rockley has a reorganization strategy to eliminate debt and restructure its capital makeup, expected to add $35 million in cash to support its ongoing operations.
  • Rockley’s stock was halted from further trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday, and the exchange said it would start to fully delist the stock.
  • Rockley does not intend to appeal the delisting, according to its 8-K.

Catch up fast: Rockley Photonics raised almost $168 million after a SPAC merger with SC Health.

  • The deal included significant investment from Senvest Management and Medtronic.

Yes, but: The transaction was expected to deliver up to $323 million of gross proceeds to the company, including $173 million from SC Health.

  • SC Health in fact provided $17.8 million.

How it works: The company's “spectrophotometer-on-a-chip” technology is used in wearable devices to continuously track various biomarkers.

  • Rockley unveiled its "clinic on the wrist" system in 2021, which monitors health data and sends it to a smartphone app powered by Rockley's machine learning algorithms that further analyze the data.

Zoom in: Commercial versions of that device have yet to appear, all while Rockley racked up debt and its stock price slipped.

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