Clinical Data’s Billionaire Chairman a Major Player in Firm’s Newly FDA-Approved Antidepressant

1/25/11

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$25 million into Clinical Data to shore up its finances. And the company snagged $50 million in convertible debt financing from two Kirk affiliates in February 2009.

“RJ has always been there in those situations to be in lockstep with us when appropriate,” Fromkin says.

In addition to Fidelity, Fromkin says, Clinical Data has also broadened its investor base in recent years to include institutional backers such as OrbiMed Advisors, Times Square Capital Management, and Franklin Templeton Investments. The company has also sold what Fromkin calls “non-core” businesses such as its pharmacogenetic testing and biomarker unit and its genomic services group to raise cash for drug development. This strategy has also enabled the firm to make key acquisitions such as its August 2008 purchase of Charlottesville, VA-based Adenosine Therapeutics, which brought the company its late-stage molecule for use in cardiac imaging procedures, apadenoson (Stedivaze).

With the FDA’s approval of Clinical Data’s first drug, the company is apparently generating interest from potential buyers. The $12 billion annual market for depression drugs has been starved for new products, and that makes vilazodone a hot commodity.

“Not surprisingly for a company with a late-stage clinical compound in an important therapeutic category, over the last months we have entertained discussions with a number of parties,” Fromkin said in a conference call with investors yesterday. “Now with the approval of Viibryd in hand, we will move forward with our commercial launch plans to make Viibryd available to patients suffering from [major depressive disorder], we will also very much continue to explore the possibility of obtaining a change-in-control transaction that is acceptable to our board of directors and shareholders.”

This talk about a potential change in control at Clinical Data has me wondering whether the company might become Kirk’s next big successful exit.

BMO’s Hazlett says he took note of what Fromkin said as well about a “change in control.” “Given the largest shareholder of the company and his track record,” he says, “when you start to hear those words you better pay attention.”

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  • Saumitra

    ” it did not outperform placebo in an earlier clinical trial. Yet Clinical Data’s chief medical officer, Carol Reed, later met with the FDA and learned how the drug could be advanced into late-stage clinical trials ”

    I wonder how Carol was able to bring Viibryd back from the dead. Would love to know what changes did FDA suggest – say primary end points / different biomarker / different I/E critera…