Prolor Biotech in commercialization talks

The drug development company is not looking for a buyer.

Sources inform ''Globes'' that Prolor Biotech Inc. (AMEX: PBTH; TASE: PBTH) is in preliminary talks on a commercialization deal for its products. The company has received several queries from drug companies interested in reviewing its products, and Prolor has asked for an opinion from an investment house on the products' value. There are no talks for a sale of the company, and no steps have been taken with an investment bank to consider or promote such a sale.

Prolor's share price rose 3% in early trading on the American Stock Exchange, giving a market cap of $318 million, after rising 4.3% on the TASE.

Relations between big pharma companies and biotechnology companies in the drug development stage like Prolor are routine. In August 2011, Prolor completed a Phase IIb clinical trial of its leading product, a longer-acting growth hormone, which is injected once a week, instead of once a day. The company now has to decide whether to commence a Phase III clinical trial independently, at an investment of tens of millions of dollars, or to sign a commercialization agreement now for the product. The company said in the past that it was reviewing both options and their ramifications. The company hopes to begin the trial in a few months.

Prolor has other products that target big markets. Most of the products are longer acting versions of current drugs made by big pharma companies.

A major Prolor shareholder is Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) chairman Philip Frost, who also serves as chairman of Prolor. Last year, he quietly increased his stake to 19% of the company. Recent reports claim that Teva is considering a deal for one of Prolor's products or for its technology.

Prolor declined to comment on the report.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 11, 2013

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

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