Who were the cash call kings of 2009?


When 2009 began, with more of a whimper than a bang on the stock markets, multi-million dollar fundraisings were not being contemplated by even the most financially healthy of drug makers.

This changed substantially throughout the year, with some cash-hungry outfits like Vertex Pharmaceuticals and Human Genome Sciences tapping investors on more than one occasion. Whilst many at the smaller end of the market will enter 2010 wishing for a windfall (Companies hoping for a christmas cash bonus, December 23, 2009) others have managed to pull off fundraisings that would be considered substantial even in boom times; the analysis below provides a snap shot of some of the biggest financings conducted this year.

Huge offerings

The gradual recovery of the financial world over the year is probably reflected in the fact that six of these companies managed to return to the markets towards the end of the year, to top up the coffers even further. Human Genome and Vertex are certainly the most notable fund raisers of 2009, both pulling off huge equity offerings.

Human Genome, arguably the most remarkable recovery story of the year on the back of the resurrection of its lupus drug, Benlysta, has taken advantage of the huge leap in its share price, which started the year at $2 and was trading at $30.76 today (Human Genome Sciences wows again with Benlysta data, November 2, 2009) . Both equity sales were conducted at a small discount to the share price at the time, but have stood the company in strong financial stead.

Vertex actually managed to raise more than Human Genome if the $155m it pocketed from selling future European milestone payments due on hepatitis C drug telaprevir is taken into consideration. Incredibly high expectations have been pinned to the drug, and as such the company easily raised money this year. The demand for Vertex’s stock is illustrated by the fact that both share sales were conducted at the market price of the time, and despite the substantial dilution that shareholders have incurred the company’s stock has advanced 43% throughout the year, trading at $42.83 today.


Cephalon described its big debt and share sale as opportunistic, using the funds to pay for the acquisition of Arana, its option over Ception, repay existing debt, and to fund other deals. With more than $1.5bn sitting on its balance sheet on top of strong cash generation, Cephalon has the firepower to strike several more deals over the coming year.

Dendreon meanwhile has been raising money so it can invest heavily in building the infrastructure to support a launch of prostate cancer therapy Provenge. With an FDA decision on approval due in May, the company and its investors will be waiting nervously to find out whether that money has been well spent.

Incyte raised funds largely to refinance debt, but also to provide it with cash whilst it negotiated deals over its novel JAK inhibitors. This strategy has now bourne fruit; only this week a deal was announced with Eli Lilly over an inflammatory and autoimmune candidate, worth $60m upfront and up to $665m in milestones, following on from an even bigger deal struck with Novartis last month, which saw the company pocket $210m upfront (Incyte scores top dollar deal with Novartis for JAK inhibitor, November 25, 2009)

Meanwhile the lone non-US company on the list, NicOx, has raised money to tide itself over whilst regulators review its painkiller naproxcinod. The French company needed cash because partners were reluctant to come on board until labelling details have been finalised. The two part offering, comprising a public and private placement, were conducted at a discount to the market price at the time, the public offering in particular which was struck at a huge 43% discount, reflecting the risks attached to this project (NicOx asks investors to raise their stakes ahead of pivotal FDA decision, November 27, 2009).

Biggest fundraisings of 2009
Company Amount raised ($m) Type of financing  Date
Human Genome Sciences 813 Equity July + December
Vertex Pharmaceuticals 800 Equity February + December
Cephalon 710 Equity + debt May
Dendreon 631 Equity May + December
Incyte 519 Equity + debt September + September
Valeant Pharmaceuticals  365 Debt June
Onyx Pharmaceuticals 310 Equity August
Biovail 286 Debt June
Seattle Genetics 181 Equity January + August
NicOx 149 Equity December
Allos Therapeutics 140 Equity  April + September
Auxilium Pharmaceuticals  116 Equity September
Inspire Pharmaceuticals 109 Equity August
Vivus 109 Equity September
Rigel Pharmaceuticals 102 Equity September

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