All Eyes On Radient Pharmaceutical’s Debt-To-Equity Swap Approval
Shares of Radient Pharmaceuticals (AMEX:RPC), a big board listed micro-cap company have been trading at record volume levels since mid-December when biotech speculators learned that debt holders along with the company’s board of directors and shareholders agreed to eliminate and convert up to $33 million in liabilities into over $22 million in shareholder equity.
The stock had risen from thirty-cent levels to over $1.67 in recent days before minor profit taking marked the last two sessions. Today, the company is expected to announce whether the NYSE Amex has approved the terms of the substantial debt-to-equity swap. If it does, the company will be in position to seize the type of growth and market opportunities that have been promised patient shareholders for years as the company developed and received FDA approval for it’s Onko-Sure (formerly DR-70) cancer screening test. The non-invasive, IVD test kit can both detect and monitor up to 19 types of cancer at a an earlier stage than virtually any other test by measuring the accumulation of specific breakdown products in blood which rise dramatically as cancer progresses.
Two years ago, Douglas MacLellan took over the company as both Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer after it had been left in far less than perfect condition by previous management.
“This is a turn-around story,” explains MacLellan. “ When I took over, we didn’t have any money. Previous management didn’t understand anything about selling the Onko-Sure test. The CEO didn’t understand that he had transformed the company into a China focused company that people really didn’t care about. He couldn’t even talk about it. I mean, we had a lousy management team and we totally changed that.
MacLellan received advanced training in classical economic theory and international relations from the University of Southern California. His international business background and leadership have now put Radient Pharmaceuticals on an aggressive growth trajectory.
“It doesn’t happen overnight,” says MacLellan. “You can’t fix something in days. We’ve had to raise capital, we’ve added distributors, we’ve been out doing things that had never been done; associated with creating the technical materials necessary to market our cancer tests.”
The efforts may be starting to pay off. Earlier in the week, the company announced their largest sales order for cancer screening tests. The $10+ million order came from an Indian distributor who is working with the Rajiv Gandhi government to help identify and screen millions of people in that country’s northern, mostly agricultural, rural regions where officials are worried about the increasing number of cancer deaths which appear to be affecting populations men and women equally. The government has promised constituents that it will do something about identifying the problem and treating the victims.
Radient’s partner in that country, Gaur Diagno, distributes a variety of medical related products in the Indian market including Onko-Sure but its efforts and involvement in the government backed cancer screening program now have shown a glimpse of their potential to bring even more of the company’s cancer tests to the second most populous country on the planet.
“In our projections we were never counting on this many tests being run in India. So we had discounted our projection numbers significantly. You add millions on top to our revenue numbers because of this one order alone. That’s why it’s so fluid as you get these large scale programs running,” says MacLellan. “Right now we can make 70,000 kits per year by running a second shift. 25,000 kits at $400 dollars equal ten million dollars. Let’s say Korea comes on line in the second half of the year and we start getting the same type of build-up. Can we absorb that? Sure.”
The company has, in fact, been busy setting up a similar relationship with a distributor in Korea. But also in Taiwan, Hong-Kong, Canada, Latin America, Vietnam, Cambodia, Australia, New Zealand and the United States. They are finalizing deals with distributors in Russia, Turkey, Indonesia and other Middle Eastern countries which should be announced shortly.
The Indian program holds the potential to pay off in an even bigger way.
“Through Gaur Diagno, we’re in growing dialogue with the national government to institute a national screening program. I think that’s something we can do by the end of 2011,” explains MacLellan.
Although he has served as the catalyst for change at the Tustin, California based company, it has not been an easy fight and much is riding on whether the company gets their debt-to-equity swap approval decision by the NYSE Amex.
MacLellan and the holders who agreed to exchange their debt for additional stake in the company know that manufacturing capacities will have to be increased to meet that demand. They also know that revenues and profits are expected to grow exponentially over the next five years if Radient’s team is given the necessary tools to finally deliver their product to market. Without the approval of exchange officials, the task becomes much more difficult and that is but one of the reasons why so many eyes are on today’s pending developments.
Reporter Mike Deosdade covers public companies for United Press Networks
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