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What Big Investors See In Bioenvision


At the opposite end of the biotech world, tiny Bioenvision (BIVN) has attracted big investors, including George Soros. A biopharma focused on certain types of cancer, Bioenvision has enticed Soros Fund Management and Perseus-Soros BioPharma Fund to acquire a combined 12% stake. Other buyers include SCO Financial Group, also with 12%; Federated Investor (FII), 11%; Lehman Brothers (LEH) Holdings, 3.5%; and Pequot Capital Management, 3.2%. Bioenvision has teamed up with biotech biggie Genzyme (GENZ) to develop clofarabine, a treatment for leukemia in children. Bioenvision is seeking to expand its use to elderly patients with acute myeloid leukemia in Europe, where it has marketing rights. (Genzyme owns the U.S. rights.) Based on a typical timeline for review by the European Medicines Agency, "we'd expect an approval" by late 2007, says Bret Holley of CIBC World Markets (CM), who rates the stock, now at 4.51, "outperform." Steven Rouhandeh, CEO of SCO, believes the stock will hit 20 in a year. He says when Europe O.K.'s clofarabine for adults, "Bioenvision will rocket." By then, Genzyme might opt to buy Bioenvision, he says.

Note: Unless otherwise noted, neither the sources cited in Inside Wall Street nor their firms hold positions in the stocks under discussion. Similarly, they have no investment banking or other financial relationships with them.

By Gene G. Marcial


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