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Dendreon to go to auction without initial bidder

A selection for a bidder wanting to pay the minimum price has not been made

dendreon logoTroubled cancer vaccine company Dendreon will be auctioned off without an initial or 'stalking horse' bidder, the company has confirmed.

The company – which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November – will put its assets on the block on February 3 without selecting a bidder willing to pay the minimum price of $275m, set by the company in its bankruptcy papers.

A Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) filing on December 29 indicated that the company had received interest from “a number of bidders” but had not selected a stalking horse – which would have demonstrated interest in the assets and provide a benchmark against which others would compete.

It is not clear whether a stalking horse did not come forward or was simply not selected, as to do so would commit Dendreon to break-up fees if the initial bidder was eventually outbid. The $275m minimum stands despite the lack of a stalking horse, it was confirmed.

In November the company said it would continue to operate and sell its Provenge (sipuleucel-T) prostate cancer vaccine as it seeks to complete the sale of the business. Sales of the vaccine have been held back by high price and reimbursement difficulties as well as competition from cheaper conventional drugs such as Johnson & Johnson's Zytiga (abiraterone) and Astellas/Medivation's Xtandi (enzalutamide).

Sales of Provenge were $325m in 2012, slipped to $286m last year and made $224m in the first nine months of this year, marginally up on the same period of 2013. A long-expected opening of the floodgates in terms of sales has failed to materialise, however, and Dendreon is now In heavy debt - to the tune of $620m – that became payable on November 10.

Holders of the notes agreed to convert their notes into stock in the reorganised company under the bankruptcy plan.

Egenix files for bankruptcy protection

Dendreon's Chapter 11 process is well underway but another US biotech company – New York-based cancer drug developer Egenix – has just filed for protection with documents submitted to a court in Delaware in the last few days of 2014.

Egenix specialises in developing small molecule drugs that block mRNA translation, thus blocking the production of specific proteins that are critical for cancer growth and survival.

Article by
Phil Taylor

5th January 2015

From: Sales

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