FAIRFAX, Va., Nov. 16, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — WaveDancer, Inc. (NASDAQ: WAVD) today announced that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement with privately held, commercial-stage, medical technology company, Firefly Neuroscience, Inc., to combine the companies in an all-stock transaction. The combined company will focus on continuing to develop and commercialize Firefly’s Artificial Intelligence driven Brain Network Analytics platform, which was previously cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Upon closing, which is currently expected in Q1-2024, the combined company is expected to operate under the name Firefly Neuroscience, Inc., and trade on the Nasdaq Capital Market.
“This transaction comes at an important time for Firefly as we accelerate the commercialization of our BNA™ platform,” said Jon Olsen, Chief Executive Officer of Firefly. “Based on the world’s largest medical-grade standardized database of electroencephalogram recordings, BNA™ is the first practical and feasible way for front-line clinicians to objectively measure brain function. As such, we believe the platform has the potential to improve patient management and develop biomarkers and companion diagnostics that will enable drug developers to bring more efficacious therapies to market faster and at a reduced clinical development cost. As a publicly traded company, we can continue to drive innovation and bolster our commercialization efforts while providing existing and new shareholders with the opportunity to participate in our growth story.”
Jamie Benoit, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of WaveDancer, commented, “Following a strategic review and analysis of our long-term prospects as a publicly-traded company, the Board determined that this merger is in the best interests of WaveDancer’s stockholders and an attractive opportunity to realize significant value as Firefly pursues multiple market opportunities for its BNA™ platform. Firefly has emerged from the rigorous FDA approval process and its BNA™ platform has been subjected to comprehensive academic peer-review. We believe these factors contribute to a competitive advantage for Firefly and position it as a unique public company.”
About Firefly’s Brain Network Analytics (BNA™) platform
BNA™ is an FDA-cleared, cloud-based, AI-powered platform used to objectively assess brain function by comparing patient electroencephalograms (EEGs) with a proprietary database of standardized, high-definition EEGs and behavioral data. BNA™ is used by psychiatrists and neurologists in the United States to support the diagnosis of mental illnesses and cognitive disorders; optimize treatment care pathways; and improve patient compliance to therapy. Real-world clinical use has shown that when BNA™ is used as part of patient management, patients showed improved response rates; enhanced therapy compliance; and reduced non-responder rates and need for medication switching.1
Biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies use BNA™ to support drug development decisions, including selecting an optimal dose and measuring cognitive effect.
The economic burden of people suffering from depression alone in the United States was estimated at $326.2 billion for the year 2020.2 In addition, CNS drug development is costly (the cost of developing a new drug is typically US$10—15 billion3), with the lowest success rate of all other drug categories4.
Clinical use of BNA™ is currently offered on a cost-per-use basis; clinics can use established EEG reimbursement codes to perform a BNA™ assessment.
About the Proposed Transaction, Management and Organization
Under the terms of the merger agreement, each share of Firefly common stock issued and outstanding will be converted into common stock of WaveDancer based on a fixed exchange ratio, with any resulting fractional shares to be rounded to the nearest whole share. At the effective time of the merger, securityholders of Firefly will own approximately 92% of the combined company and securityholders of WaveDancer will own approximately 8% of the combined company, on a fully diluted basis. WaveDancer’s ownership may increase if it raises capital in excess of the minimum detailed in the Definitive Merger Agreement. The closing of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the effectiveness of the registration statement on Form S-4 to be filed by WaveDancer, and the receipt of required stockholder approvals from Firefly and WaveDancer stockholders.
Following the merger, WaveDancer, Inc. will be renamed “Firefly Neuroscience, Inc.” and the corporate headquarters will be located in Toronto, Ontario. The combined company’s Board of Directors after the Merger will consist of five members, one of whom will be designated by WaveDancer, and will continue to be chaired by Arun Menawat, Ph.D., who is currently CEO and Chairman of Profound Medical Corp. (“Profound”), a publicly traded, commercial-stage medical device company.
The combined company will be led by Jon Olsen, who joined Firefly as Chief Executive Officer in September 2020. Mr. Olsen has an accomplished history of executive management success in the global medical technology industry, building out commercial capabilities, leading marketing and sales teams, planning and executing transformative organizational changes, and cultivating strong thought leader relationships across multiple specialties. His 25 years of healthcare experience includes progressive leadership positions at two of the world’s leading global medical technology companies, Smith & Nephew and Medtronic.
“We are thrilled that Jon has agreed to lead the combined company,” said Dr. Menawat. “It has already been captivating to watch the scale, scope and speed with which leading clinicians and drug developers have begun to show interest in BNA™, and Jon’s extensive and demonstrable record of accomplishment in helping to commercialize new medical technologies will continue to be invaluable as we execute the next stages of our growth strategy.”
The transaction has been approved by the Board of Directors of both companies and is expected to close in Q1 2024, subject to customary closing conditions, including the approvals by the stockholders of each company. WaveDancer’s operating subsidiary Tellenger, Inc., a provider of modernization services to the federal government, will be divested through a transaction closing simultaneous to the Firefly merger.
B. Riley Securities is serving as advisor and Greenberg Traurig, LLP is serving as legal counsel to WaveDancer. Haynes and Boone, LLP is serving as legal counsel to Firefly.
- Alivation Health. (2023). Improving Patient Outcomes in Psychiatric Care by Objectively Addressing Cognitive Functional Impairment [White Paper]. Retrieved August 23, 2023, from https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:7098357195787927552/.
- Greenberg, P. E., Fournier, A.-A., Sisitsky, T., Simes, M., Berman, R., Koenigsberg, S. H., & Kessler, R. C. (2021). The economic burden of adults with major depressive disorder in the United States (2010 and 2018). PharmacoEconomics, 39(6), 653–665. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40273-021-01019-4
- Rabiner, E. (2019, May 30). Advances in CNS drug development. Research Outreach. https://researchoutreach.org/articles/cns-drug-development/
- Gribkoff, V. K., & Kaczmarek, L. K. (2017). The need for new approaches in CNS drug discovery: Why drugs have failed, and what can be done to improve outcomes. Neuropharmacology, 120, 11-19. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0028390816300934
WaveDancer, based in Fairfax, VA, has been servicing federal and commercial customers since 1979. WaveDancer is in the business of developing and maintaining information technology (“IT”) systems, modernizing client information systems, and performing other IT-related professional services to government and commercial organizations. https://wavedancer.com/
About Firefly Neuroscience
Firefly is a pioneering AI company developing innovative neuroscientific solutions that improve outcomes for patients with mental illnesses and neurological disorders. BNATM is a scalable cloud-based platform built on the company’s extensive proprietary database of standardized, high-definition EEG recordings, including behavioral data. Firefly’s biomarker discovery AI platform further exploits the database to discover useful biomarkers for clinicians and pharmaceutical companies. With a focus on developing state-of-the-art technologies that bridge the gap between neuroscience and clinical practice, Firefly is dedicated to transforming brain health by advancing diagnostic and treatment approaches. https://fireflyneuro.com/