"Growing momentum and recognition" for Northwest Biotherapeutics should continue Print E-mail
By M.E.Garza   
Monday, 11 July 2011 06:36
Shares of Northwest Biotherapeutics (OTC:NWBO) closed over 9% higher on Friday after the company released details about a $4.55 million equity investment by The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation and a $3 million investment by Whitebox Advisors, a multi-billion-dollar hedge fund group headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Why is this a significant development?

In case some of the important details got lost in the shuffle, Richard M. Schulze is the founder, and current Chairman of the Board of Best Buy- one of the leading specialty retailers of consumer electronics in the world. In fact, the retail giant he helped establish accounts for 19% of the market in the United States while simultaneously operating in Mexico, Canada, China, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Puerto Rico.

Since establishing his foundation in 2004 as “a way to give back to the community,” the non-profit has become a major supporter of research and clinical programs at medical centers such as the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic.

But while the foundation has often been recognized for its generosity, the investment is neither a gift or a grant. It may actually mark the first time the group has made an actual investment into the commercialization of a game-changing technology.

As biotech investors know, Northwest Biotherapeutics’ leading product candidate DCVax®-L, which targets solid tumor cancers like Glioblastoma multiforme (the most lethal form of brain cancer), is currently in a 240-patient Phase II clinical trial.

In an official statement about the multi-million dollar backing, Schulze endorsed NWBO stating that he was “impressed by the clinical trial results to date, and encouraged that the company is pursuing these trials in both the US and Europe.” As we understand it, Schulze and Whitebox Advisors conducted extensive due diligence.  

Schulze, whose retail success has been immeasurably driven by his ability to distribute and make cutting-edge electronics available to consumers at prices they could afford, found promising Northwest Biotherapeutics’ own plan to develop and commercialize immunotherapy products that generate and enhance a patient’s own immune system to treat cancer without some of the toxic and undesirable side effects for a broader patient market (in both the US and Europe simultaneously).

 “I share NWBT’s vision that with its cost-effective manufacturing, and the simplicity of the DCVax® product, like a flu shot, this new treatment can be made available at reasonable cost to patients,” said Shulze.

The Schulze Family Foundation Investment came on the heels of Whitebox Advisors' own investment which, as part of their due diligence, was in part based upon the experiences of successfully treated patients to date. According to SEC filed documents, Whitebox actually surrendered almost 20% of the warrants they received to Northwest Biotherapeutics so they could be reissued to the Schulze Family Foundation in consideration of the Foundation's investment.

The $7.55 million raised in the last 30 days, together with the $25 million equity financing facility announced in the same time frame, should be another positive signal to the investment community that Northwest Biotherapeutics now has the financial base to pursue acceleration of the GBM clinical trial both here in the United States and Europe. Furthermore, our own in-depth research on the company continues to point to positive developments and progressive breakthroughs in the weeks and months ahead.

When contacted about the investments and what they mean for the continued development of their drug platform, Northwest Biotherapeutics’ CEO Linda Powers said:

“Our science and clinical trial results involving  multiple cancers have always been strong.  Thanks to the Schulze Family Foundation, Whitebox Advisors and the equity facility agreement, the resources are now finally in place to ramp up execution of our key clinical trial for brain cancer.  With growing momentum and recognition, we move closer to the day when DCVax can lead the way to harnessing the power of the immune system for improved treatment of the broad range of cancers in our product pipeline."

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