Disney fund Shamrock invests in Medison Pharma

Medison may use proceeds to make Israeli and foreign acquisitions.

The Shamrock Israel Growth Fund of Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) has invested an additional $8 million in niche pharmaceuticals marketing company Medison Pharma Ltd. The new investment increases Shamrock's holding in Medison to 23% from 13%.

Medison is a private company owned by president and CEO Meir Jakobsohn. It has 140 employees and $80-100 million in annual revenue.

Shamrock first invested in Medison in 2006, when the company only specialized in marketing pharmaceuticals and had 30 employees. The company has since expanded its operations, which apparently prompted the new investment. Shamrock is a private equity company that invests in rapidly growing companies; Medison meets the criterion.

Jakobsohn said, "We mainly represent in Israel biotech companies that have survived the market without being acquired by huge companies. In the past decade, big pharma companies have opened independent representative offices in Israel, but it is not worthwhile for mid-sized companies to set up their own operations, so we or one of our competitors, such as Megapharm or Neopharm, represent them."

Medison represents companies with global sales of between $2 billion and $30 billion a year. Most of the companies develop niche pharmaceuticals, where there is less competition from big pharma. Medison partners include Amgen Inc. (Nasdaq: AMGN), Biogen Idec Inc. (Nasdaq: BIIB) (a specialist in neurological treatments and developer of Tysabri, a competitor of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd's (Nasdaq: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone), Shire Pharmaceuticals Group plc (LSE: SHP; Nasdaq: SHPGY) (a specialist in orphan drugs, which has developed a treatment for Gaucher's disease that competes against Protalix Biotherapeutics Inc. (AMEX:PLX; TASE: PLX), and Ipsen SA (Euronext: IPN) (a developer of oncology, endocrinology, neurology, hematology, and primary care drugs).

Medison is considering using the proceeds to acquire Israeli or foreign companies. Most pharmaceutical marketing companies are family-owned private firms.

"Globes": Do you see some of these companies going public in the near and mid-term?

Jackobsohn: "A company holds an IPO only when it can't raise money. It's not on the agenda."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on March 15, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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