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Tag Archives: Bioniche

2010 Canadian Healthcare Review: Success and Momentum Building

We had just finished the Q3 2010 report when I attended BioContact Québec in early October and the mood was discouraging. My co-author on these reports (James Smith, VP-Healthcare at Equicom) was in San Francisco in January for the annual JP Morgan conference and he described the overall mood as optimistic. What happened in those three months?

The subtitle for the 2010 Canadian Healthcare Review (pdf) is “Successes and Momentum Building.” The momentum building comes partially from the increased financing which occurred in Q4, and which appears to be continuing in 2011 – Bioniche’s Australian tranche and Paladin Labs’ bought deal.

The momentum also comes from the clinical and regulatory successes in 2010. Three novel products developed by Canadian companies were approved – Cardiome’s IV BRINAVESS (vernakalant), Theratechnologies’ EGRIFTA (tesamorelin), and one which we tend to forget because it was acquired by Medtronic in 2008 is CryoCath’s Arctic Front cryoablation system. Cipher and Labopharm also had specialty pharma products approved and many companies were successfully progressing products through Phase 2 and 3 clinical trials.

These successes are usually dwarfed by the failures but this was not the case in 2010. There were only two Phase 2 or 3 products for which development was terminated. There were three other products which had Phase 2 hiccups but for which product development is continuing. On balance, 2010 was a successful year for product development and regulatory approvals.

In any discussion of successes, we cannot forget the investors, who measure success by increases in share price. From a group of 105 companies we assessed, there were 17 companies with share price increases of 40% or more in 2010 (actually 18 as Nightingale Health Care should be added to the list). This is balanced by 32 companies which had share price decreases of 40% or more.

Success for the industry in 2011 will be defined by its clinical, regulatory and financing successes, and by share price performance of the companies. Some of the companies which made progress in 2010 with their Phase 2 and 3 clinical trials and regulatory filings will have data or decisions in 2011, while others will still be advancing their programs. If the industry is able to repeat the clinical and regulatory success rate of 2011, we expect that financing and share price performance will likely follow.

Monday Biotech Deal Review: November 22, 2010

Welcome to your Monday Deal Review.  There was quite a bit of Canada / U.S. crossborder investment activity last week, with a $700M note offering by Valeant, IMRIS’ USD$52M public offering, and both IMRIS and Tekmira announcing their listing on the NASDAQ.   Read on to learn more, as well as the usual summaries of recent biotech activity. Read more of this post

Q3 Canadian Healthcare Review – Weakness Continues BUT Some Bright Spots

Data in the Q3 2010 Canadian Healthcare Review from the Equicom Group (co-authored by James Smith, Vice President Healthcare at Equicom and myself) shows a continuation of the weakness in biotech financing which we have seen in 2009 and 2010.

Bounceback From the Financial Crisis May Have Masked 2009 Weakness

While the level of funding seen during 2009 was a concern, the problem may have been partially hidden by the many large share price increases from lows they hit as a result of the financial crisis in late 2008. The level of funding in 2010 is lower and the impact of lower funding is now being seen in share price performance. Lower cash resources have resulted in lower activity levels and survival concerns, which has probably been a factor in the 40% or greater share price drop in the first 9 months of 2010 for 31 of 105 healthcare companies in the share price performance assessment. The bright spot is that investors can still make money in the sector, as 13 companies had their share prices increase by greater than 40% in that same period.

Protox and Oncolytics Start Q4 With a Bang

The $35 million dollar financing by Protox announced in September did not count in the Q3 total because the financing was not closed by September 30. The first $10 million tranche of that financing and the recent $25 million dollar bought deal financing by Oncolytics Biotech are a good start for Q4.

Pending Regulatory News May Build Buzz

There are also some upcoming events which could help create a little momentum in the sector. While Cardiome has had a delay in a U.S. Phase 3 study of its iv vernakalant (already approved in the E.U.), the start of Phase 3 trials of the oral version by its partner Merck would be a good boost. Theratechnologies is still waiting for the FDA decision on tesamorelin after the unanimous recommendation from an advisory committee. Bioniche’s parter Endo is expected to both release results from the first Phase 3 study of Urocidin™ and also start the second Phase 3 trial.

Evolution at Valeant and Angiotech

Two large companies continue to evolve. Valeant is slowly exiting from the NCE business and going back to its specialty pharma roots as it gives back clinical programs which were acquired by the prior Biovail management. Angiotech has announced a major debt restructuring which will cut its ongoing financing costs but will also result in major dilution for current common shareholders.

More to Come on Profitable Canadian Healthcare Companies

My focus as a biotech analyst over the years has been the development stage companies. The Canadian healthcare sector also includes numerous companies which are not only profitable but also do monthly distributions to shareholders. I will take a look at these companies in a future post.

Monday Biotech Deal Review: October 25, 2010

Welcome to your weekly review of Canadian biotech deals for October 25, 2010.  Last week’s notable transactions included the Qualifying Transaction of TSXV CPC company CCS Capital Inc. (now known as China Health Labs & Diagnostics Ltd.) and ProMetic’s strategic agreement with Allist Pharmaceuticals Inc., for the commercialization in China of two of ProMetic’s drug candidates.  Read on to learn more about these transactions, as well as the usual assortment of Canadian biotech news. Read more of this post

Monday Biotech Deal Review: October 4, 2010

This week’s Monday Deal Review brings you the usual assortment of biotech wheelings and dealings from the past week, including a summary of the newly completed Valeant / Biovail merger.  Read more of this post

Biotech Trends Update — IP Constituencies: Endo’s Qualitest Purchase Shows Full Integration of Innovator and Generic Strategies

Endo Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ENDP) announced yesterday morning that it will spend $1.2 billion to buy U.S. generics company Qualitest Pharmaceuticals. Endo also has an active pipeline of “innovative” products in development, emphasizing the industry trend we’ve been following of a narrowing distinction between innovator and generics companies.

Endo began its modern existence after being spun out of DuPont Merck in 1997, where it had been that company’s generics division. Instead of continuing in as a pure generics company, though, Endo in-licensed Lidoderm in 1998 and since then has mixed generics and innovative programs with wanton disregard for the traditional industry divide. In fact, Endo’s planning seems to be focused more on product classes than on patent status. The Qualitest purchase, for example, was framed as an expansion of their pain franchise. Another example of Endo’s non-traditional aggregation is pairing the Bioniche license for Urocidin (an innovative bladder cancer product in Phase III) with their purchase of HealthTronics (a urology services and equipment company).

As companies like Endo look to replace revenue from expiring patents, don’t expect them to do it in traditional ways or by sticking to traditional silos. Check out other examples here, or point me to others in the comments.

Monday Biotech Deal Review: June 28, 2010

We follow a number of trends here at the blog, and two of them showed up as Canadian deals this week. Add those to the Biovail-Valeant merger, Æterna’s offering and a whole slew of commercial deals, and it’s been a pretty big week in Canadian deal-making.

check it out after the jump…

Monday Biotech Deal Review: June 7, 2010

This week saw a resurgence of deal activity on the Canadian landscape. Lots of good news here, including Resverlogix’s [$9.2m] haul and a $30m exit for Montreal’s Resonant Medical.  Not all was sunny though: Cynapsus downsized its unit price and Amorfix just downsized, while the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act got its own workout (har) this week. Read more of this post

Monday Biotech Deal Review: April 26, 2010

This week’s deals are highlighted by a new TSX-V listed biotech, a $16 million D round, five collaborations a FedDev win for Bioniche, and updates on this month’s flurry of financings. Read more of this post

Monday Biotech Deal Review: February 15, 2010

A busy Monday Deal Review is headlined by Labopharm and ProMetric on the securities front, MDS’ final divestiture on the M&Eh front and Biovail and Bioniche on the licensing front, and there’s lots more activity behind those for over $100 million of deals.  Check out all the details (and the witty headlines) after the jump…

Monday Deal Review: July 27, 2009

B&W_BigNickelWell, July is wrapping up with no sign of summer, or of the summer doldrums.  Read on for all the rainy-day deals we found this week after the jump…

New Data Shows 70% of Canada’s Biotech Companies Have Under 12 Months’ Cash. BIOTECanada’s New Ask: Government Loans.

Canadian moneyA Canwest story today highlights new BIOTECanada data showing 70% of survey respondents have under 1 year of cash, up from 50% in January.  FierceBiotech picked it up as well, guaranteeing a full dose of international attention.  

Even though the remaining 30% of respondents likely include some with big recent successes — Bioniche, Allostera and Zymeworks – and some with creative approaches — ConjuChem, Neuromed, etc. — the top-line number is grim indeed.  Plus, as Kasia Majewski points out:

“Most firms have found away to extend their cash, but they’ve done that by massive layoffs, by shutting done operations to the bare bones. So essentially the lights are on but there’s one guy home.”

Given that there has been no systemic cash infusion, it’s not surprising that the number of firms in trouble has gone up since January. 

On the other hand:

There is a bolus of fund-of-funds and direct capital waiting to be deployed, including:

Plus, Lumira Capital’s Q2 newsletter (pdf) points to the new BDC money, Alberta Investment Management Corp’s PE plans and the new Alberta Enterprise Corporation as potential additional sources of funding in the medium term.

BIOTECanada bottom line:

In the winter, the organization was focused on tax initiatives.  Yesterday, though, the focus was entirely on

“negotiations with Industry Canada to obtain a loan program for Canada’s biotech sector that can hold the industry over until capital markets rebound. … [Specifically,] government loans to be repaid after a two- year period at six per cent interest.”

Maybe it’s the new money looming on the horizon, or the seeming lack of traction for the tax policy asks, but the focus has definitely shifted.

My bottom line:

Even the new loan program advocated by BIOTECanada will not help if the other government funding doesn’t make it to biotech companies and VCs. We’ve been keeping an OVCF scoreboard that still shows a goose-egg for biotech investments.  It may be early days for these new capital sources, but the hour is late for Canadian biotech companies.

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Monday Deal Review: July 12, 2009

B&W_BigNickelThe highlights of this week were definitely the Bioniche-Endo deal and Allostera’s $17 million raise, but that was just the tip of the iceberg as Canadian deal activity heated up along with the weather.  A novel deal with an income trust swapping cash for a biotech’s public shell starts things off after the jump…

Bioniche Signs Urocidin Deal with Endo Pharmaceuticals: $20 Million Up Front, $110 Million plus Supply to Follow

Exciting deal! Since Rick and I worked on this one, let me just turn it over to the press release:

Bioniche Life Sciences Inc. (TSX: BNC) and Endo Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ENDP) jointly announced today that Endo has licensed from Bioniche the exclusive rights to develop and market Urocidin™ in the U.S. with an option for global rights. Urocidin is a patented formulation of Mycobacterial Cell Wall-DNA Complex (MCC) developed by Bioniche for the treatment of non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer that is currently undergoing Phase III clinical testing. Under the agreement signed by both companies, Endo will pay Bioniche an up-front cash payment of $20M USD and the potential for up to $110M USD in additional payments linked to the achievement of future clinical, regulatory, and commercial milestones. In addition, Bioniche will manufacture the product and receive a transfer price for supply.

Update: Here it is on FierceBiotech.

Update 2: Here’s the BIO SmartBrief post.

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Monday Deal Review: April 6, 2009

One complex arrangement, two clinical trial updates, three commercial deals and other bits of Canadian deal and company miscellany after the jump…

Friday Science Review: March 13, 2009

Training Brains:  Sheena Josselyn’s lab at SickKids specifically erased a fear memory in mice by selectively ablating CREB neurons using an inducible diptheria toxin.  Let me break this down, because it’s so unbelievably cool: 

  • they trained mice to be afraid of a sound,
  • then they destroyed some specific cells in the brains of the mice,
  • then the mice forgot that they were afraid of the sound.

The mice were subsequently able to learn new things, like how to find cheese in a maze, and were even able to learn to be afraid of the same sound again.  Between this and the mind-reading experiment in the UK this week, it’s enough to give you a serious bout of insomnia … which often lasts over a year, according to researchers at Laval.

Gout Rout: Dr. Hyon Choi and colleagues at the University of British Columbia reported in Monday’s issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, that Vitamin C appeared to lower the levels of uric acid in the blood, and that men who take in more vitamin C appear to be less likely to develop gout, a painful type of arthritis.

Beef Relief: Researchers using Bioniche’s E. coli O157 vaccine, Econiche™, published a study in Foodborne Pathogens and Disease showing that vaccinated cattle were 92% less likely to be colonized with E. coli O157:H7 than non-vaccinated cattle (odds ratio (OR)=0.07, p=0.0008). This is the second published study demonstrating more than 90% effectiveness of the Bioniche vaccine against colonization.

Anti-cancer Advancers:

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Monday Deal Review: March 9, 2009

A big dose of Canadian deals and company info from this week after the jump…

Monday Deal Review: February 23, 2009

TBI Breakfast: BIO and Biotech in the State of Georgia

I just came back from a very enjoyable TBI Breakfast with talks by Carol Henderson, the Director of the Georgia Department of Economic Development and Graeme McRae, the Chairman & CEO of Bioniche Life Sciences, Inc. which has an Animal Health division facility in Athens, Georgia.

Graeme’s talk, as usual, was very interesting and not very print-able.

Carol’s talk was also great.  Of course, Atlanta, Georgia is hosting BIO 2009, which is moving ahead full-steam.  Georgia also has some interesting capabilities and initiatives

Most interestingly, the State has a life sciences facilities fund that provides low interest loans secured by fixed assets to assist start-ups with finding appropriate space.   Carol mentioned that the program just funded a 15-year loan with deferred interest at 60% of Prime.

Here in Ontario, we have also identified access to facilities as a key area for government support, and the Georgia program is a model that I haven’t heard discussed here.

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