Dendreon — and its faded cancer star Provenge — is changing hands for the second time in less than two years.
Their new owner is Nanjing Xinbai, a department store conglomerate that’s been beefing up its pharmaceutical business, which first proposed to snap up the prostate cancer cell therapy last November.
The deal is valued at $872 million (CNY 59,680,000,000), though no cash is involved. Sanpower Group, which currently owns Dendreon through a Hong Kong-based subsidiary called Shiding Shengwu Biotechnology, is also a controlling stockholder of Xinbai. Moving Dendreon into publicly traded Xinbai “has been Sanpower’s long-term plan since acquiring Dendreon in 2017,” Dendreon CEO Jim Caggiano wrote via email.
In exchange for passing off Shiding, Sanpower’s getting 180 million more of Xinbai’s shares, boosting its holding from 33.1% to 42.43%.
These are expensive shares. Sanpower is effectively betting $511 million on Dendreon’s future earning potential by paying a 60% premium over Xinbai’s current stock price. And that’s after paying $820 million in cash to nab the company from Valeant in the first place.
“Sanpower sacrificed CNY3.5 billion of its own interest to infuse Dendreon into Nanjing Xinbai as promised,” Guikan Hua, Sanpower vice president and spokesperson, told The Paper, “showing the stockerholders’ full support and optimism toward Nanjing Xinbai.”
That level of confidence would fit with the impression I got from Caggiano, who told me late last year — before Xinbai would announce its intentions to buy the company — that Sanpower “has proven to be a great partner” who’s very hands off in the US while leading the charge to bring Provenge to Hong Kong and mainland China.
According to him, there will be no changes to structure, strategy or personnel at the company after the change of ownership.
Currently approved in the US, Provenge is an autologous cell therapy that requires a quick turnaround in the manufacturing process. With help from Sanpower, Seal Beach, CA-based Dendreon has purchased an immunotherapy manufacturing facility in Hong Kong with goals of filing an NDA in the region soon.
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