It may be a clichÃ© that Australian scientists are good at science and poor at commercialising it, but there is substance to this. There is also substance to the view that Australian investors aren't good at understanding and valuing biotechnology.
Both those issues are factors in the decision by Biota Holdings to merge with Nabi Biopharmaceuticals of the US and relinquish its ASX listing.
The merger is more of a reverse takeover of Nabi by Biota than a true merger and, indeed, is more of a funding raising than a merger.
Nabi is a company that has a lump of cash, a modest royalty income stream and not much more, other than its NASDAQ listing. It is that cash and that listing that has motivated the Biota move.
Biota has been quite successful at developing flu vaccines through its near 30-year history – last year it received a $231 million cash grant to develop a vaccine for the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority as part of the US strategy of stockpiling vaccines against pandemics – but has generally pursued a royalty-only model under which its research and development has been commercialised by others.
The inhibiting factor for a relatively small company (with a market capitalisation of about $170 million) operating within a market that doesn't have much focus on biotechs other than CSL is funding.
Read the full article here.
The BioPharma Convention Australasia conference will be happening on the 23-24 August 2012. It will discuss innovation and strategies for pharmas, biotechs and the R&D community. Download the brochure here.