Malin pledges to return cash to shareholders
Four main assets on track to reach ‘important milestones’
Life sciences investment firm Malin Corporation, which has seen its share price tumble as much as 60 per cent since its 2015 flotation, has pledged to return cash to shareholders as some of its holdings mature over the next two years.
Speaking to The Irish Times before the company hosts an analysts and investor day in London this afternoon, chief financial officer Darragh Lyons said the company’s four main assets can “generate significant returns over the next two years” with “important milestones”.
The company, which has seen a board and management overhaul in recent months and is now headed by executive chairman Ian Curley, said in September that it was focused on its stakes in four companies.
The priority portfolio, which rose in value during the first half by 20 per cent to €290 million, comprises: Poseida Therapeutics, which is developing a treatment for bone-marrow cancer; Immunicore, whose key pipeline product is an eye cancer drug; Kymab, which is working on a treatment for eczema; and Viamet, which focuses on antifungal products.
US investment bank Jefferies said in a report published today that the most immediate catalyst could come when Poseida presents at a haematology conference in California early next month, which may lead to a flotation of that business. Immunicore and Kymab are also likely to raise capital in the next six to 12 months, according to Jefferies, which could result in the buyout of some legacy investors in both.
Mr Curley, who took over as Malin chairman in July and became interim executive chairman last month as chief executive Adrian Howd stepped down, said yesterday that Malin has recently addressed a number of issues.
Annual operating expenses, which reached €17.5 million at their height, are now running at €7 million, while the company has narrowed its focus to immunology, oncology and genetic diseases, from a previously “overdiversified and disparate portfolio” of 18 investments. It has also moved to rein in executive remuneration packages, which triggered a revolt at the company’s agm in September.
Malin has also identified a second tier of “growth potential assets” within its portfolio, according to Mr Lyons. These include two Dublin-based firms – healthcare apps developer 3D4Medical and injectable drugs company Altan – as well as Xenex, a Texas-based disinfection services company.
Shares in Malin, which reached an all-time low of €3.92 last Friday, compared with its €10 flotation price, have since rallied by more than 20 per cent in advance of today’s investor presentations.