Canadian biotech companies aim to be eaten by bigger fish

"On Feb. 7, 2012, Robert Heft sold his biotechnology company, Montreal-based Enobia, to U.S. pharmaceutical giant Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. for the robust price of $1.1-billion (U.S.) – the largest sale of a private, precommercial biopharmaceutical company, according to industry experts."

"Dr. Heft and his colleagues achieved a rarity in the industry. They had attracted the attention of Big Pharma and cashed in."

"Biotech can involve long timelines, be capital intensive and experience high business failure rates. Some investors and larger companies seek safety in size, making Canada’s mid-sized biotech companies an attractive market – as long as they can mitigate their risk, secure investors and reach the first stages of commercialization."

"It was Enobia’s lead therapy, asfotase alfa, a treatment for the life-threatening bone disease hypophosphatasia, that sealed the deal with Alexion. The therapy was more than six years in the making and became the company’s primary focus after Dr. Heft took over as Enobia’s president in late 2005. Enobia used more than $150-million to gather preclinical data on asfotase alfa and wanted to bring this treatment to patients suffering from this disease. Today, Alexion has brought the drug through its Phase 2 clinical trials."

"Canada’s life sciences biotechnology sector is a significant part of the economy. Drug manufacturers alone shipped $10.5-billion worth of goods manufactured in Canada, and contributed almost $4.6-billion to Canada’s gross domestic product in 2012, according to Statistics Canada. But they need to make it to the commercialization stage first – something many struggle to achieve."

"Unlike other sectors, such as mining or oil and gas, biotech companies are generally developing their product with the hope of attracting attention from potential partners or buyers."

From +The Globe and Mail

Canadian biotech companies aim to be eaten by bigger fish
In this risky sector, Canadian mid-sized businesses are attractive to larger corporations, which are able to bring products across the finish line. But they have to grow big enough to be enticing

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