Friday, February 28, 2020

Booming Stock Price This Morning for Firm Backed by California Stem Cell Agency

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California's more than $15 million investment in a San Francisco Bay area company could be paying off more than handsomely this morning -- for the company.

The firm is called Forty Seven, Inc. Its stock skyrocketed overnight and was up 24 percent this morning at the time of this writing.  The jump occurred as the rest of the market continued its deep slump.

The trigger for Forty Seven was a report from Bloomberg News that Gilead Sciences, Inc., had approached the Menlo Park, Ca., company with a takeover bid.

This morning's stock price of $60,34, however, was still below the company's 52-week high of $65. That compares to the 52-week low of $5.53.

The hike in Forty Seven's stock price will not necessarily directly benefit the stem cell agency, which is formally known as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).  The California state constitution bars the state from holding stock in companies, which has rankled some of CIRM's top officials.

Any financial return on the two CIRM awards made directly to Forty Seven would come through possible royalties from use of research that the agency has helped to finance. 

CIRM's support for the firm's research actually exceeds the $15.2 million in direct awards. The $3 billion agency, which is running out of cash, has financed other awards that laid the ground work for Forty Seven. They  went to Irv Weissman at Stanford University, who is on the company's board of directors and a co-founder of the firm. Weissman has received $30 million from CIRM.  

Last October the agency cited its investment with Forty Seven as part of the economic benefits chalked up by CIRM and provided this quote from the company.
"'CIRM’s support has been instrumental to our early successes and our ability to rapidly progress Forty Seven’s CD47 antibody targeting approach with magrolimab,” says Mark Chao, M.D., Ph.D., Founder and Vice President of Clinical Development at Forty Seven Inc. 'CIRM was an early collaborator in our clinical programs, and will continue to be a valued partner as we move forward with our MDS/AML clinical trials.'"
Earlier this month, CIRM President Maria Millan highlighted Forty Seven as a "pivotal" clinical trial in a briefing for CIRM directors, producing the slide below. 

Look for more coverage involving the Forty Seven-Gilead news later today right here on the California Stem Cell Report

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