Sunday 4 December 2016

Kelly Martin's Malin looks forward to payout as the first of its investments prepares to float

Published 01/05/2016 | 02:30

Former Elan chief Kelly Martin
Former Elan chief Kelly Martin

Malin, the Irish life sciences investment group led by former Elan chief Kelly Martin, is anticipating its first major payout.

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One of Malin's 16 investments, a US life sciences company called Viamet, is on the verge of going public, Malin's management said at its AGM earlier this week.

North Carolina-based Viamet recently filed plans with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering for up to $100m worth of shares. The company is developing antifungal drugs.

It should mean an exit and a payday for Malin, who counts the state as a major shareholder via the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF).

As well as Viamet, Malin's investments include acne drug group Novan and African speciality pharmaceutical group Serenus.

One of its largest investments is a €73m punt on UK biotech firm Immunocore, which is focused on cancer treatments.

Malin was founded in 2014 by several former Elan executives to invest in life science companies which are not yet ready for a sale or IPO. Former Elan executive vice president and general counsel John Given is its executive chairman while Elan's former chairman Bob Ingram also sits on its board.

Last March Malin raised €330m in one of Europe's largest ever life science IPOs. The ISIF took a 15pc stake, investing €50m. Other backers include UK financial guru Neil Woodford and US billionaire and founder of software giant SAS Institute, James Goodnight.

"The company has completed its initial phase of investment and has now turned to operationally supporting its investee companies," Given said at the AGM.

Malin has opened an office in Cambridge in the UK alongside offices in New Haven in the US and its Dublin headquarters.

The company is encouraging several of its investments to relocate to Ireland, according to chief financial officer Darragh Lyons. "We committed to creating 10 Irish companies," he said.

Ireland needs to get better at developing indigenous companies, Martin ­added.

The chief executive is well known for turning around Irish biotech giant Elan in 2003 in the wake of accounting troubles at the firm. He cleaned it up and sold it to Perrigo for $8.6bn (€6bn) a decade later.

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