Israeli Biotech Mulls U.S. Sale

July 21, 2006

Pluristem Life Systems, a biotech company traded on the over-the-counter market, may consider selling itself to a large U.S. or European biotechnology company in the next 18-24 months for $75-$150 million. Zami Aberman, ceo of the stem cell therapy company in Haifa, Israel, said he expects the first clinical trials of its lead drug candidate to be completed by then. A sale seems likely as Phase III trials require at least $100 million, an amount Aberman said would be difficult to raise. The biotech company has raised a total of $9 million, the bulk of it from PIPE deals, over the past three years.

Aberman thinks large companies such as Amgen, Genentech or Switzerland-based Serono could be interested in Pluristem. He estimated the market for the company's drugs, which aim to treat blood disorders, could range from $1 billion to $5 billion annually.

The company is currently looking for $6 million from a strategic or venture capital investor by year-end, Aberman said. It plans to open an office in the U.S. shortly and is looking to hire a U.S.-based professional to head its business development efforts.