Envisioning A Buyout For Bioenvision

By Gene G. Marcial

Promising Pipeline
What's George Soros buying? In biotech, he has accumulated 27% of Bioenvision (BIV ), a little-known biopharma. Other investors: OrbiMed Advisors, with 8%, and Deutsche Bank (DB ), with nearly 5%.

The stock is up from 2.15 in July to 5.02 on Jan. 28. Bioenvision's Modrenal is sold in Britain for advanced breast cancer in post-menopausal women. It's also co-developing, with ILEX Oncology (ILXO ), Clofarabine for acute and chronic leukemia. Peter Cardillo, chief strategist at investment firm S.W. Bach, says Bioenvision is undervalued not only because of the potential of Mod-renal and Clofarabine but also because it could be acquired. A logical buyer is Schering (SHR ) or Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY ), he says, adding the stock is worth 10 in a buyout.

CFO David Luci says Bioenvision is looking for partners and concedes that some big companies are interested. The issue before the board, on which Soros is represented, is whether to go it alone or seek a merger to take advantage of the $1 billion market potential for Clofarabine, Luci says. Chrystyna Bedrij of Griffin Securities sees FDA approval by yearend. Profits are expected in 2007.

Note: Unless otherwise noted, neither the sources cited in Inside Wall Street nor their firms hold positions in the stocks under discussion. Similarly, they have no investment banking or other financial relationships with them.

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