April 26, 2013

Daiichi Sankyo: A Dark Horse Challenger to Big Pharma Buying $PVCT

Earlier this month I identified visits from Daiichi Sankyo in Tokyo spending many, many hours on the blog. Later, I confirmed visits from Daiichi's U.S. headquarters in Parsippany, New Jersey. I think Daiichi Sankyo is interested in a multi-faceted relationship with Provectus.

Plexxikon reported interim analysis of its MM Phase 3 trial for vemurafenib (Zelboraf) in January 2011. In February, the following month, the company announced it was being acquired by Daiichi Sankyo. When a corporate approaches a target, the dance generally begins with an introduction typically 3 to 6 months or more before an acquisition, if achieved, is announced. By this math, Daiichi may have begun speaking with Plexxikon around mid-2010. Plexxikon treated the Phase 3 trial's first patient in January 2010.

Daiichi, one could argue, acted aggressively. "Just a few months after Daiichi Sankyo Co. Ltd. purchased biotech Plexxikon Inc. of Berkeley, Calif., for nearly $1 billion, the Japanese pharmaceutical company is reaping the benefits. A drug developed by Plexxikon and now owned by Daiichi, vemurafenib, was approved for treating metastatic melanoma by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the company said Wednesday." (Source here)

Think about it. Daichii approaches Provectus before Moffitt's data has been presented at AACR in April. Before Provectus' contemplated pivotal MM Phase 3 trial is finalized -- where "finalization" means the receipt of the SPA -- and well before enrollment is commenced. That should come as no surprise because PV-10 is far superior to vemurafenib (Zelboraf) and has more multi-indication potential already (whereas vemurafenib did not).

Daiichi has the balance sheet to pay what Provectus desires. In 2008 Daiichi announced that it would pay up to $4.6 billion for a controlling stake in Ranbaxy Laboratories, one of the largest manufacturers of drugs in India; this deal valued all of Ranbaxy at $8.5 billion (a 31% premium to its stock market capitalization prior to the announcement).

Daiichi also has a Japanese cultural approach to M&A that might force Pfizer's hand. That is, it could push Pfizer to act because it has to act to protect an asset (Provectus) it values but heretofore has no impetus to acquire.

"Global studies of M&A point out that once executives dive into the transaction process, they often become so invested in the deal that they cannot pull out even when necessary. In most markets today, however, common wisdom prevails that being able to walk away is a hallmark of M&A sophistication. That notion is rare among Japanese practitioners of outbound M&A." (Source here)

"The demands of Japanese-style consensus building, requiring the hard-won agreement of many parties, make abandoning a deal particularly hard. The potential loss of face in such a decision makes participants reluctant to suggest it, even if the logic of proceeding is undermined by new information."

Daichii was agressive in acquiring Plexxikon, paying more for the company than anyone else offered or was willing to pay. From all accounts, the acquisition is or eventually should be accretive.

If Daiichi executives set their mind to licensing PV-10 (or PH-10) or acquiring Provectus, then Big Pharma (including, in particular, Pfizer) might lose the asset to the Japanese if they're not willing to counter bid.

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