How does the song go?
Adimab does it / Ablexis does it
Even Stemmer's Amunix has done it
Let's do it / Let's find a new corporate structure that allows us to separate drug discovery from development so that we can sell the assets more easily!
It needs work. Cole Porter's version was a little snappier.
But our toes are tapping because, yet again, an early-stage firm with a promising technology -- or in this case, an experienced drug-discovery team -- is launching with a novel structure tailored to the new reality of the biotech business. The firm is Inception Sciences, and its two founders, Brad Bolzon and Peppi Prasit, are fresh off the pending sale of Amira Biosciences to Bristol-Myers Squibb, which you can read about here.
The next edition of "The Pink Sheet" Daily will have a more detailed explanation of Inception, which, like the movie, is a bit tough to get the old noggin wrapped around. In general, however, Inception follows in the footsteps of other biotechs that want to:
- Keep the platform or discovery technology in a holding company and the development-stage assets in separate corporate entities, thus creating the opportunity for more streamlined acquisitions.There are several variations on the theme, as our little ditty above indicates. Amunix has created a half life-extension technology now behind products in two spin-outs: Versartis and Diartis. There's also Nimbus Discovery, which our START-UP colleagues wrote about here, and the antibody platform firm Adimab and its clone Arsanis.
- Let investors invest "a la carte."
- Find a way to return cash to investors faster without selling the underlying science.
Still, not everyone can hum the tune: the extra layers of administration and bureaucracy can be too much for a lean biotech with inexperienced backers. But in a business where the people with the cash are growing ever-more impatient, it's not a trend going away soon.