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Domain and Rusnano, represents a central element in a strategy adopted by the Russian government to produce at least half of the medicine within mother Russia by the end of the decade.
NovaMedica already has licensing agreements with Marinus, Lithera, Coda, and Regado to produce products in Russia, according to an In-Pharma Technologist report yesterday. Dovey says NovaMedica also plans to find additional health sciences products beyond Domain’s portfolio companies to develop and market in Russia. “We have two or three other deals pending, but none have closed yet,” Dovey said.
On another front, New Jersey’s Regado Biosciences plans to raise $75 million needed to fund a huge, late-stage trial of its anticoagulant with more than 13,000 patients. The company set a range between $14 to $16 a share in May, and has appeared this month on Renaissance Capital’s list of upcoming IPOs. The 30-employee biotech would command a market value of $219 million at $15 a share, the midpoint of its proposed range. Regado plans to trade on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker symbol RGDO.
During our interview, Dovey emphasized that Domain’s wide-ranging partnership with Rusnano wasn’t easy to pull off.
“We spent two years in negotiations,” Dovey said. “It was not really contentious, but imagine working with a government that is accustomed to operating on a one-year business cycle, and getting them to operate on [a schedule] that is more like a 90-day cycle.”
He adds that venture investing in life sciences “is always about innovative products, but innovations in business models are just as important these days.”
In this respect, Dovey said Domain’s deal with Rusnano provides a crucial source of additional funding as well as other resources. “We can move the companies ahead further,” which helps to validate the value of new technology, whether it’s a medical device or biotech startup. “Big Pharma is willing to pay almost disproportionately for de-risked assets,” Dovey said.
So when will Dovey know that Domain’s Russian gambit has been successful?
“I guess success is in the eye of the beholder,” he replied. “I’d like to see us get on the market with some products at NovaMedica.” A moment later he added, “I’d like to see another four or five companies get funded. We just need to keep working on it.”