BioCanCell Therapeutics Ltd. (TASE:BICL) today announced that its shareholders were considering filing an offer to purchase for all the company's outstanding shares. The company has been offered an investment contingent on its being a private company.
The company further announced that it was negotiating simultaneously for strategic cooperation with major drug companies.
BioCanCell's controlling shareholders are Len Blavatnik-controlled Clal Biotechnology Industries Ltd. (TASE: CBI) (44%) and Palisade Capital Management (38%), with the public owning the other 18%. Following the announcement, BioCanCell's share price leaped 22%, pushing the company's market cap up to NIS 105 million.
BioCanCell said that the offer was for a$20-25 million investment at NIS 1.47 per share, a premium of over 60% on the market price before today's rise (less than NIS 0.90 per share). The potential investors are interested in preferred shares, and it is therefore important to them that the company be private when the investment is made.
Money to pay for advanced trials
BioCanCell has been in the market since 2006, but has undergone several changes, principally when it found that the first version of its product, an antibody for a receptor found mainly in cancer cells, was not absorbed well by the body's cells. Even with this limitation, the product is still suitable for the bladder cancer market, but the company previously said that this market was small. BioCanCell currently estimates this market at $500 million, and has resumed marking it as its main indication. Former ARIAD Pharmaceuticals chief medical officer and senior VP clinical R&D Dr. Frank Haluska has been BioCanCell's CEO since October 2016.
BioCanCell is scheduled to conduct two simultaneous Phase III clinical trials, but had only $5 million in cash at the end of the second quarter of 2017, and is thus in need of investment. It is difficult for the company's controlling shareholders to invest in the company directly because the public owns so little of the company, and the same is true for any private investment. Clal Biotechnology has stated in the past its intention of having BioCanCell conduct an offering on Nasdaq, but this is also easier for a private company to do.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on October 29, 2017
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