September 28, 2012

$PVCT.OB/$PFE's Patent Application Published For Combining Local And Systemic Therapies For Enhanced Treatment Of Cancer

Provectus issued a PR today for its joint patent application with Pfizer. The patent application was first revealed a week ago.

In a break from historical practice, management issued a PR for a patent application rather than only for an issued patent. While not wanting to hype this achievement (since a patent application has a way to go before it is finalized [if at all]), Provectus nevertheless clearly wanted to highlight another aspect of its growing relationship with Pfizer.

Having made venture capital investments in hi tech start-up companies (mostly information technology ones, but some life sciences companies) on behalf of a corporation, I understand the situation Provectus faced. I have no doubt management dutifully asked the folks at Pfizer's Specialty Care and Oncology business unit for permission to include the Big Pharma company's name in today's PR. The Pfizer BU asked Pfizer's corporate legal department, which subsequently said no (an answer that was not going to change).

As a corporate VC, I knew the tangible and intangible value to the investee from having our parent company's name in the investee's PR announcing the investment round (and our investment). On the other hand, our corporate legal department was fearful of misrepresenting the nature of the relationship between the corporation and the investee company, no matter how minuscule the potential or actual risk. It was one thing to say the corporation's wholly owned but separately governed and functioning subsidiary invested in a start-up company. It was another thing to imply any kind or sniff of "partnership" that did not yet exist between the corporation, howerver, and the investee.

While it may be disappointing to shareholders the relationship with Pfizer was not more broadly broadcast, more of it should become evident over time. For example, we may learn more about it coming out of ESMO next week. Alternatively, if PVCTP ultimately is used, we may learn Pfizer is the lead investor, or one of two lead investors (PFE + another Big Pharma company, PFE + a life sciences investor/fund).

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