For years the Dendreon saga was centered around the controversy over whether its prostate cancer treatment worked or not.
Well, now that we know the answer to that question the focus has turned to potential FDA approval of the therapeutic vaccine and the company's ability to make it and master the unique treatment process.
But investors are also anxiously waiting for news on Dendreon's quest for a corporate partner to market Provenge outside the U.S.
On the biotech company's earnings conference call this morning CEO Dr. Mitchell Gold said, "We are in active discussions." A couple of analysts tried to press him for more details, but he wouldn't budge. CFO Greg Schiffman added, though, "We have no need to access the capital markets ahead of positive news from the FDA." Some might interpret that to mean the nearly quarter-billion dollars the company recently raised is enough to carry it through and/or more cash could soon be coming in the form of a so-called upfront payment from a potential partner.
In a research note this afternoon, Merriman Curhan Ford analyst Joe Pantginis estimates that down payment could be close to a hundred million bucks. He handicaps the odds of an ex-U.S. partnership versus a total takeout at 70-30. Pantginis names three potential partners or acquirers: Sanofi-Aventis, Bristol-Myers Squibb and GlaxoSmithKline. But if I were to reach out to those companies I can tell you what they'd say: "We don't comment on market rumors, speculation or analyst commentary regarding M and A or any other type of deal."