BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE : JUNE 30, 1997 ISSUE
INSIDE WALL STREET

Biomatrix Waltzes With The Biggies

For a company with a market cap of just $185 million, Biomatrix (BIOX) can also claim a sort of big-cap appeal: It has signed potentially huge contracts with some big names in phamaceuticals, including American Home Products, Rhone-Poulenc Rorer, Collagen, and Hoffmann-La Roche. What do they want little-known Biomatrix for?

Biomatrix has two patented proprietary products: Synvisc, a device used for osteoarthritis of the knee, and Hylaform, used to correct skin wrinkles and scars. American Home Products, through its Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories division, has paid Biomatrix $4 million for the right to market Synvisc in Austria, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Spain, and certain countries in Central Europe and the Mideast. When the product is approved by the Food & Drug Administration, AHP will pay a further $12 million to market Synvisc in the U.S.

An FDA panel has recommended a thumbs-up for Synvisc. ''So full FDA approval is expected sometime this year,'' says former Prudential Securities analyst Len Bogner, who now runs BGS Associates, a New York consulting firm. Even without FDA approval, Bogner sees Biomatrix generating an operating profit--exclusive of royalties, licensing, or other fees--by the fourth quarter of 1997. He thinks that Synvisc, already marketed overseas, will be sold in

the U.S. by the fourth quarter.
Rhone-Poulenc has a deal to distribute Synvisc in Canada, Hoffmann-La Roche has one for Sweden, and German drugmaker Bayer has one for Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Asia. For Biomatrix's Hylaform, Collagen has signed up to

distribute the skin-care product in Europe.
Bogner expects Biomatrix to earn $2.05 a share this year on sales of $42 million and $2.35 next year on $64 million--up from 25 cents in 1996 on $15 million. He sees the stock, now at 165/8, at 25 by yearend, and at 50 in 18 months.


BY GENE G. MARCIAL

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