Big Pharma Spin-Offs are in Favor, says MPM's Michael Steinmetz
Dismal markets mean good opportunities for investors, says Michael Steinmetz, PhD, general partner at MPM Capital. But their preference for putting larger sums into more mature companies make Big Pharma spin-offs particularly attractive-especially in Europe.
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In dermatology offshoot Intendis, Schering AG has created the ideal European crossbreed: a group with the management experience associated with spin-outs, and a revenue-generating side more typical of specialty pharma. The snag: Schering's retaining full ownership--for now.
Astex Technology's takeover of Schering AG spin-out metaGen Pharmaceuticals provides the Cambridge-based firm with more cash, a stronger relationship with a pharmaceutical partner, complementary technology assets, and, potentially, an improved preclinical pipeline. MetaGen investors inch closer to an exit by trading stakes in an early-stage, unfloatable company for a piece of a more mature, well-funded firm several steps closer to an IPO.
Pharmacia spin-off Biovitrum, like other biotechs born out of Big Pharma, has found favor with investors seeking experienced management and advanced programs. But Biovitrum's size, cash flow, and independence appear to make it more attractive still.