The most important near term implication of this deal is that Navidea (subject to closing) can now pay off the $50 million debt it owes to CRG, in full, and free itself of the drag that the litigation has been putting on the company and its operations. This is not to be underestimated. The company’s CEO left earlier this year, primarily based on the impact of the litigation (whatever the media said) and reports of low morale, disgruntled staff and the reluctance of certain potential partners to strike deals with the company have hampered growth. The lifting of this situation is hugely important going forward.
The second implication is that Navidea now no longer has a revenue source. That’s not great, but according to a conference call held by management to discuss the deal, the company believes the potential future revenues from the development of its pipeline, specifically a rheumatoid arthritis treatment, outweigh the ROI on a marketing push for its Lymphoseek product.
This move can be interpreted as follows. The company is monetizing an asset to shore up its capital structure, and putting any remaining proceeds into its pipeline. We see this as a smart move. Why? Because any future growth potential was severely stunted by the company’s pre-agreement situation (of course, it’s very much still in this situation, but we are assuming the Cardinal Health deal will close out successfully).
Navidea is now an early stage junior biotech with a couple of promising candidates in its pipeline, no debt and a partnership that is set to bring in just shy of $7 million annually at the bottom end for at least three years. It should have cash on hand at close (and after paying off the debt and litigation costs) of between $25-30 million, and intends to counter CRG in the hope it can recoup some of its capital going forward.
That’s a pretty healthy position, and a complete turnaround for a company that, just last month, looked like a candidate for insolvency.