Dendreon May Not Survive Its Success: Q&A with Founder Chris Henney, Part 1
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too many manufacturing issues and headaches. Culturally, Europe and Japan are more ready to accept a cell-based therapy than the U.S. You’ve seen the problems we’ve had in this country with endorsing the stem cell approach to therapy. It’s going to happen. But it’s being endorsed slowly.
X: Do you mean the pharma companies are more receptive in Europe and Japan, or do you mean the patient and medical communities there are more receptive to a cell therapy product than in the U.S?
CH: The patient and medical communities, yes, are more receptive. The pharma companies will reflect that.
X: So do you think the market could be better for Provenge overseas?
CH: I think it will be accepted well in this country. We’re talking about business partners, and I think Japan and Europe might be more likely business partners. Especially since the company seems to want to keep the U.S. to itself anyways. We’ll see whether they have that opportunity. I saw Reuters wrote the story (July 23) about Dendreon looking for a partner in Europe. It might end up that when you start looking for a partner in Europe, it could be that you end up getting taken out.
X: You think it’s a possibility that they’ll get acquired, and that they might partner in the U.S.?
CH: I don’t think it’s likely they’ll partner in the U.S. I think it’s more likely that they’ll get taken out in the U.S. If there was a U.S. partner, it would be more likely through an acquisition. With Japan or Europe, you might end up with a partnership.
X: I’m curious what kind of difference you think this product can make for Seattle biotech? It’s been beaten down for a few years, with the best companies, Immunex and Icos and others, getting acquired and not having the same presence as before.
CH: When you get to a certain size, with a $1 billion market cap, it’s hard to sustain it. When you’re a multi-billion dollar market cap, that’s really hard to sustain. It’s like saying if you want 10 percent and you’re a $3 billion company, you need to do an extra $300 million a year of revenue. That’s hard to do, especially if you’re a one-product company.
X: But Dendreon’s not there yet. Do you think it could be the next anchor tenant for Seattle biotech, like Immunex was?
CH: For a while. Yes, absolutely. They are already the biggest company … Next Page »