Monday, June 7, 2010

Penwest Pharmaceuticals Makes Its Case

Penwest, of Paterson, NY, has a shareholders' meeting coming up: on June 22.

Penwest is best known for a proprietary drug-delivery technology.

The dissident slate has made the following case: The company's most valuable asset is the revenue stream on Opana ER that it receives from Endo, a licensee. The value of that single revenue stream has exceeded the net cap of the company for most of the last year. This indicates, to the dissidents, that company is acting as a drag on value. The dissidents would significantly reduce "headcount and other overhead expenses, which we believe continue to be maintained at levels that are in excess of what is required. Following the Annual Meeting, if our Nominees are elected, we intend to conduct a rapid, detailed review of the Company’s current employee base with the view towards eliminating all positions that are not funded by ongoing drug delivery collaborations or not necessary for the Company’s new operating plan."

How has the company responded? Its materials note that in an earlier proxy fight, Tang and Edelman (the former of Tang Cap, the latter of Perceptive Life Sciences) had a far more drastic proposal: they demanded a winddown of the company. So the incumbents think it a moral victory that Tang-Edelman no longer make that demand. Still, it is wrongheaded (they add) to demand headcount reduction.

"Don't reward this disruption of the progress we are making."

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