Michael Chang is set to return as chairman of Optimer Biotechnology. (Photo/Yen Chien-lung)
Huei Hong Investment, led by Reuntex Financial Group CEO Samuel Yin, has bought the remaining 43% share of Taiwan's Optimer Biotechnology from its US parent company Optimer Pharmaceuticals, making it a 100% Taiwan-owned company with expected revenue of US$20 billion with its breast cancer drug OBI-822/821.
Huei Hong and Optimer Pharmaceuticals have been fighting over the ownership of the Taiwanese company for the drug, which is expected to enter the third phrase of clinical trials in November and could reach the market by 2015, according to our Chinese-language sister newspaper Commercial Times.
The Taiwanese investment firm bought 59.424 million shares in Optimer Biotechnology for US$1 per share. The deal will severe the tie between Optimer Biotechnology and its US parent company, making it a genuine Taiwanese brand 100% funded by Taiwanese shareholders and operated by a Taiwanese research team. Ruentex will hold a 40% stake in the company and its former chairman Michael Chang will also return to the helm, Taiwanese media report.
Chang was removed from his post in April this year after Optimer Pharmaceuticals discovered he was awarded 1.5 million shares in Optimer Biotechnology, which the company viewed as a conflict of interests.
OBI-822-821 may become Taiwan's first drug to enter the international market and its potential is also expected to boost the firm's share price, said Chen Chun-hung, chairman of MasterLink Securities. Optimer Biotechnology was set to go public in June but its IPO was delayed due to the ownership battle between its US parent company and its Taiwanese shareholders, according to Commercial Times.
Yin allied with several Taiwanese securities firms to increase its stockholding to 57%, higher than Optimer's 43% holding. The deal pushed the share price of Optimer Biotechnology up by 25.54% as of Monday while that of the parent company continued to decline and closed at US$11.26 a share on Oct. 12.
The US company launched its antibacterial drug Deficid for pseudomembranous colitis last year and authorized Japan's Astellas Pharma to sell it in Europe. However, the market for the drug was only valued at US$700 million and its sales have been poorer than expected, reaching only US$18.4 million in the third quarter of this year, according to Commercial Times.
The US firm lowered the wholesale acquisition price for the drug from US$2,800 for 10-day treatment to US$2,100 after the company was criticized for the wrong marketing strategy and the drug's high cost deterred hospitals from using it, according to the Associated Press.
Huei Hong Investment 匯弘投資
Reuntex Financial Group 潤泰集團
Samuel Yin 尹衍樑
Optimer Biotechnology Inc 台灣浩鼎生技股份有限公司
Chen Chun-hung 陳俊宏
MasterLink Securities Corporation 元富證券.