Medigene remade

How Medigene found new investors by focusing exclusively on immunotherapy

Within 18 months, Medigene AG has used a small acquisition to gain a new, predominantly institutional shareholder base that has infused the German company with enough cash to pursue three platforms in parallel.

Management says the key to courting the new investors, most of which are based in the U.S. and in European countries outside Germany, was morphing into a pure-play biotech focused on cancer immunotherapy.

The transformation could leave the company competing with some of the assets it shed during lean years when survival was the goal.

Staying alive

Although Medigene's entire research engine has roots in Trianta Immunotherapies GmbH, which Medigene acquired for up to €9.5 million ($13.1 million) in January 2014, the current iteration of the company dates to 2009 when Frank Mathias took over as CEO.

Step one, said Mathias, was survival. Medigene had about €25.1 million ($35.7 million) in cash at the start of 2009, enough for about a year. In the midst of the global financial meltdown, the company reported a 2008 operating loss of €24.6 million ($35 million).

The company started tapping into a standby

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