PDL restructures to recover

By Nick Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Monoclonal antibodies Stock

PDL Biopharma has restructured its board of directors and
reaffirmed its strategic focus as it attempts to recover from a
challenging period.

The company is to diverge into two separate entities, one of which will develop PDL's biotechnology pipeline using $375m of capital which will be made available after the split. The other entity will hold the rights to future royalties PDL is due to receive. PDL has said this funding will be sufficient for its drug development arm to function for several years. Beyond this the company would have to look for partnerships or financing. By that time analysts expect daclizumab, a drug for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, to have passed through phase II testing. In addition another three compounds are predicted to have completed proof-of-concept Phase II testing within that time frame. PDL has in the past suffered from missing drug-development timelines. This is something the new leadership, jointly held by Brad Goodwin, Joseph Klein and Laurence Korn until a new CEO is found, will be trying to avoid. The management team will be hoping this new focus will draw a line under a difficult period for the company, which has suffered from the failure of lead drug Nuvion (visilizumab) among other setbacks. The fallout from these issues saw the company's share price plummet from almost $28 a share to a low of $9, highlighting the precarious position faced by many biotechs. However, the splitting of the company could reverse this trend, with many stock advice sites such as SeekingAlpha extolling the move and stock price rising by 4 per cent upon the resignation of interim CEO Patrick Gage. The popularity of the split is primarily due to the rewards on offer from the non-developmental company formed in the divergence. This company will hold the rights to all future royalties PDL is due to receive from companies including Genentech, AstraZeneca and Wyeth. Financial investors have been welcomed the creation of the royalty holding company as they anticipate significant special dividends being paid out as a result of breaking up the company. This revenue stream is due to run dry around 2014 when PDL's Queen patents for the manufacture of humanized monoclonal antibodies expires. In the meantime PDL has bought itself some breathing space and won back some dissenting investors which could be just what the company needs to kick start its recovery.

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