NEW YORK, Sept. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Merlin Nexus and New Leaf Venture Partners (NLV Partners) provided comment today regarding Pfizer Inc's (NYSE: PFE) announcement it had extended the deadline of its all-cash tender offer for Icagen's (Nasdaq: ICGN) shares to Thursday, September 1 at midnight:
"Merlin Nexus and NLV Partners, both stockholders in Icagen, believe strongly that Pfizer's proposed acquisition of Icagen at the price of $6 per share greatly undervalues the potential that we see for Icagen as a whole and for the company's development pipeline," Dominique Semon, Managing Partner of Merlin Nexus, and Philippe Chambon, Managing Director, NLV Partners, commented in a joint statement. "We are pleased to see that other stockholders agree and therefore Pfizer has not received sufficient shares to complete its acquisition of Icagen at the proposed price at this time."
Mr. Semon and Dr. Chambon added, "Merlin Nexus and NLV Partners continue to oppose the acquisition as proposed at this price, and we do not intend to tender our Icagen shares to Pfizer under the current terms."
In the past two months, Merlin Nexus and NLV Partners have distributed three letters contesting the price of the acquisition proposed by Pfizer. The most recent letter stated that although the aggregate value of the proposed transaction is approximately $56 million, "the true cost to Pfizer to acquire the company's assets is only $22 million when near-term R&D and milestone payments as well as the cash Icagen currently owns are put into the equation. This cost would be even lower if the Pfizer-Icagen R&D collaboration were renewed after it expires later this year."The letter also referenced conservative estimates of the value of Icagen's pain programs alone at as much as $100-$165 million or $11-$19 a share. In December 2010, Pfizer advanced the first of Icagen's proprietary compounds (PF-05089771) into a phase I single dose escalation study, and this trial was expected to have been completed in March 2011. According to the letter to Icagen shareholders, "trial data are open to Pfizer as they are required to monitor safety. These data provide Pfizer with an unfair advantage not afforded to all investors to determine the value of this program." About Merlin Nexus Merlin Nexus, based in New York, is an investment management company focused on crossover private equity investing in the life sciences industry. Merlin Nexus invests globally in private and public healthcare companies and manages several crossover private equity funds with capital commitments totaling $200 million. Our investor base consists of financial institutions, funds of funds, family offices and high net worth individuals. About NLV Partners New Leaf Venture Partners is a leader in healthcare technology venture investing. Our investment professionals bring a unique blend of technological, clinical, and operational experience to our investments. We work closely with our entrepreneurs to help build successful portfolio companies. We focus primarily on later-stage biopharmaceutical products, early-stage medical devices, and laboratory infrastructure technologies.