On its face, the deal to take out CuraGen Corp. (NASDAQ:CRGN) is returning about $0.18 for every dollar the genomics-based oncology company has raised since it went public. But the $94.5 million all-stock offer announced last Friday by immunotherapeutics company Celldex Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:
CLDX) may turn out to be good deal for current shareholders.
Celldex expects to net $54.5 million in cash, after paying transaction costs and assuming $14.1 million of Curagen's convertible preferred debt, resulting in a net acquisition price of $40 million.
Still, Curagen shareholders seemed unperturbed on a conference call outlining the deal. The company had a market cap of $71.5 million before the deal was announced, putting the potential premium at 32%.
Moreover, after unspecified adjustments, the payout to CuraGen shareholders also could amount to 58% of Celldex stock, with a floor of 32.5%. The deal is slated to close in 3Q09.
At March 31, CuraGen had accumulated a $464.3 million deficit since its formation in 1993. All told, it has raised $528.3 million since its IPO in March 1998. The biotech rode the genomics wave, raising $346.8 million in 2000 alone, after which it had a market cap of $1.8 billion.
CuraGen quickly fell to earth after the genomic bubble burst. Today, the company has a portfolio of 11 human antibodies, the most advanced of which is CR011-vcMMAE, a human mAb against glycoprotein NMB (GPNMB) linked to monomethyl auristatin E (MMAE). The compound is in Phase II testing to treat melanoma and breast cancer.
The company is reporting three sets of data on CR011 this week at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in Orlando. These include Phase I and Phase I/II data in advanced melanoma and Phase