This just got interesting. biOasis raises some money and then announces how they’re going to spend some of it. They hired a ringer, that’s what they did, Dr. Mark Day as President and CEO. He’s an industry insider, a neuroscientist and a business development guy who’s not only been “in the room” but he’s been “at the table” through a lot of years, a lot of deals and with a lot of major players. Rob Hutchison has been saying for a long time that he wanted to find an industry insider with The Right Stuff to advance the company’s commercial objectives and it looks like he’s found his guy.
We’ll have lots of opportunities to discuss Mark Day but there are some interesting things that should be emphasized right up front. For the last five years Dr. Day has been the guy at Bristol Myers Squibb, Alexion and Purdue Pharmaceuticals whose job it was to find scientific and commercial opportunities – opportunities like biOasis. Check out his positions at these companies. At Purdue he was, “Head of CNS & Non-Pain Virtual Drug Discovery.” At Alexion he was “Executive Director, Head of External Research & Scouting” while at Bristol Myers Squibb his position was “Global Lead, Search and Evaluation (CNS, Genetic Diseases, US VC Liaison).”
In his searches for these acquisition and pipeline candidates, Dr. Day has evaluated more than 300 programs. Imagine how many scientists and executives he must know, how familiar he must be with the pharmaceutical industry and how many promising programs he must have evaluated. In fact, Dr. Day has developed strategies for faster evaluations of technologies, something that biOasis shareholders should appreciate. It’s taking the pharmas way longer to evaluate the Transcend Platform that any of us thought possible. Anything to speed those guys up would be welcome.
Dr. Day’s job has been to find new opportunities and acquisitions for his employers. He’s found a lot of them and his employers have acquired many of them. Dr. Day actually helped negotiate some of those deals. He’s such an expert in this that Yale University brought him on board as an Adjunct Assistant Professor, focusing on Translational Neuroscience. What is Translational Neuroscience? As I understand it, it’s getting the science and research out of the labs and moving it forward to treat diseases, into clinical applications. No question, Dr. Day is able to talk turkey with the pharmas.
Getting back to those 300 evaluations, remember how Dr. Day was looking for opportunities for his employers? Guess what! He found one for himself – biOasis! He’s known about us for a while. Take a look at the Sachs Forum agenda for February 23, 2016. You remember this. Several of us posted on Stockhouse about it at the time. Some interesting observations were made by pmrider about the session (here and here). I mentioned it. So did BearDownAZ, both on Stockhouse and Agoracom.
In the Sachs agenda, look who’s at the table at the Rare & Orphan Diseases panel session at 14:35 hrs. Mark Day was there. Dr. Reinhard Gabathuler, biOasis’s Chief Scientist, was there. And sitting right there with them was Maurice Zauderer, President and Chief Executive Office of Vaccinex, a full seven months before that licensing deal with Vaccinex was announced. These conferences! They’re so easy to dismiss as just more fluff. Out of that crowd at the Sachs Forum we got a new CEO and a licensing deal. What else might come out of all those conferences that biOasis has attended over the years?
Meanwhile, what about Rob Hutchison? First off, I have to congratulate him for finding and hiring Dr. Mark Day. To find a guy that has the neuroscientific and business development backgrounds that Mark Day has is one thing, but you just don’t ask a guy like Mark Day to come over. There’s got to be something pretty special there for a guy like that to accept this position. It’s time to take a look at Rob Hutchison and what he’s done. Rob has built this company, developed the Transcend technologies, got the patents lined up, got the animal studies done, and has taken it all to the commercial markets, and he’s done it in such a compelling way that Dr. Mark Day is willing to stake his career on biOasis. Will Mark Day turn out to be Rob’s best decision? Maybe, but I think his dogged determination in getting the peptide structures defined and patented will turn out to be the one big thing that made it all possible. Others in previous companies and situations had opportunities to do something special with melanotransferrin but it was Rob Hutchison who really understood the opportunity and had the drive to get it done. There’d be nothing without those peptide patents.
So is it going to be all golf and occasional board meetings for Rob now? Good luck with that, Rob. We’re entering what will likely be the wildest time in the company’s history and I think you’re going to be a busy guy.
Finally, I had to laugh when I first heard that Dr. Mark Day may be coming on board. Obviously, he must have evaluated biOasis in the course of his work for Alexion and after having done so, thought that, hey, this looks pretty good. And now here he is, our new CEO. It reminded of Victor Kiam back in the seventies who was so impressed by his new Remington shaver that he bought the company. In a stroke of advertising genius, he advertised the fact that he bought the company. He became a household name and made a fortune from it all. (Here’s the UK version of the ad.)
So, Victor Kiam became rich and famous! Can it happen again, this time to Mark Day and biOasis? We’re going to find out.
© 2017 John N. Davenport