Dartmouth-based Meta Materials Inc., which specializes in producing synthetic materials for industrial applications, has announced a plan to raise US$50 million or about C$64 million by selling additional shares.

Meta’s stock, which trades on the Nasdaq, fell by more than a third on the news, dropping from US$1.92 at the open Friday to US$1.17 by the close. The company, which was once Atlantic Canada’s first publicly traded unicorn, now has a market cap of just US$347 million or C$447 million, according to data provided by the Globe and Mail. That's down from US$2.2 billion less than a year ago.

The transaction means Meta produced the largest capital raise of any innovation-driven company in Atlantic Canada in the first half of 2022. It also raised the most capital in the full year 2021, attracting C$198 million in investment when it listed on the Nasdaq last June. Before Meta's announcement on Friday, the largest fundraising in Atlantic Canada in the first half had been the $39.5 million raise by Mara Renewables of Dartmouth. 

Friday's announcement comes in the wake of Meta announcing on June 21 that it will buy the assets and intellectual property of Devens, Mass.-based Optodot Corp. for US$48.5 million, signalling a move into next-generation battery materials.

Meta, which first became known for making anti-laser coatings for Airbus cockpits, has revealed interests in a dizzying array of business ventures since it listed on the Nasdaq via a reverse acquisition last summer. Its current projects include a film for reflecting 5G radio waves around corners, augmented reality eyeglasses and a system for non-invasive blood glucose testing.

Founded in 2011, the company uses artificial intelligence systems to design new synthetic materials in a fraction of the time it would take a team of human engineers: days, rather than years. 

The Optodot assets are the third acquisition in 10 months for Meta. In April, Meta agreed to buy Oxford, UK-based Plasma App Ltd., which specializes in the high-speed coating of objects, for US$20 million in stock.  And in May it closed its C$90.5 million acquisition of Nanotech Security Corp. of Burnaby, BC, which makes the anti-counterfeit material found in banknotes.

Meta said in a press release the sale of the new shares is scheduled for June 28. California’s Roth Capital Partners and New York-based Alliance Global Partners are acting as placement agents for the shares.