The $64,000 Question

I ran into one of my DBT students today while I was at work. He asked me what in  ‘olden times’ would have been the $64,000 question: “When are you getting into that study?” Excellent question! I would like to know the answer to that one, too. After all, I have been referred twice – count them, twice! – and I have been waiting seven months.

Did I tell you Regillo had said the hold-up was at the corporate level? He said that the stem cell company, Ocata, had been bought out. Sorry if I forgot to say that.

Anyway, since I had a little time I decided to do a little investigation. I love my iPad. In some ways it is the world at your fingertips. After I typed in ‘Ocata acquired’ I got a number of hits. The earliest one was early November, 2015. It appeared that somebody named Yoshihiko Hatanaka of the Astellas Pharma corporation was talking to Ocata President and CEO, Paul Wotton, about a buyout. Ocata was described as a biotechnology corporation developing new regenerative medicine treatments to address unmet medical needs. Unmet medical need? I think they are talking about me!

Another article from the next day reported Astellas had purchased Ocata for $379,000,000 CASH on the barrelhead. (I told some people to invest in Ocata. It looks as if I was right!)

Astellas’ American subsidiary, Laurel Acquisitions was supposed to go out and buy back shares of Ocata from private shareholders in the company. This was the only way the deal could go through. A little research let me know that buying up the stock from private stockholders is called ‘tender’. Learn something new everyday.

Apparently the buy back required a time extension and was not completed until the beginning of February, 2016. At that time the merger was accomplished.

I have not found any mention of what is happening with Ocata/Astellas since the end of February. My search did not turn up anything for March at all. Maybe they are just lying low and changing the name on the stationery or something.

Do I understand the corporate world? Absolutely not. Some of what I read said this was great for Ocata because the merger gave them a good financial base. Pfizer is supposed to be coming on strong and the capital Ocata now has access to will help them stay competitive. Good for them.

Good  for me? I have no clue. Maybe Wills will call next week. “Study is ready to go!” Maybe it will be years. Who has years when you have a degenerative condition? In a bit of a hurry here!

Although I am not terminally naive – I pretty much know that money makes the world go ‘round – I find this all discouraging. Good people doing good work are being held up while someone else plays Monopoly.  Maybe not totally fair but that is how it looks from my perspective.

Probably should call ‘my’ researcher in Philly and find out what the word they are hearing is. See what else is happening at Wills. Who knows? Maybe Pfizer needs a good lab rat!

Next: KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

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