Exelixis/GSK: Using Project Financing to Accelerate R&D
Productivity in biotech is a better problem to have than its opposite-but paying the higher-than-expected development costs makes it still a problem. Thanks to a variety of new project financing sources, and a particularly clever approach to amending its alliance with GlaxoSmithKline, Exelixis is fact trying to turn research productivity into a source of non-dilutive capital.
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Symphony's Project Financing Model Adapts
As Wall Street fails to significantly reward companies with strong clinical news, the fall-out also affects the project financiers, like Symphony Capital -- an increasingly important alternative to traditional equity or alliance financing. On one hand, the hard times make Symphony's expensive-looking capital increasingly attractive to biotechs, including companies that once would have had plenty of other financing alternatives. On the other, Symphony's model is shifting more toward equity investing. It's still financing projects, but it's padding its upside with a lot more cheap stock.
Genzyme/Isis: Has ENHANCE Dulled Mipomersen's Prospects?
In early January, Genzyme nabbed one of the highest-value specialist cholesterol-busting drugs around: Phase III mipomersen, from Isis Pharmaceuticals. But given the ENHANCE-triggered questions around the value of ever-lower LDL, it's reasonable to ask whether mipomersen has a somewhat less rosy prospect in the few weeks since the deal was signed.
Private Equity Comes to Discovery
Through what could be a $550 million investment, Invus wants to play for Lexicon the role Roche has played for Genentech, enabling the biotech to finance both its more advanced projects and its discovery programs-something it couldn't do with smaller public market offerings or with lower-value deals on early-stage programs. The financial lynchpin for Invus: the huge prices Big Pharma is willing to pay for Phase II products. Will other private-equity firms follow Invus' lead?