Bioject mulls options including possible sale

Bioject Medical Technologies ($BJCT) has hired a financial adviser to explore the always-ominous "strategic alternatives." One option for the maker of needle-free drug delivery systems: selling the company.

The sobering news gets worse. Bioject warned in its Jan. 17 announcement that shareholders may not gain much from any sale that takes place, "given the liquidation preferences of the preferred shareholders." Ouch.

Bioject, in theory, should be generating a happier story right about now, with some industry observers predicting tremendous growth for the needle-free drug delivery device market as caregivers seek to reduce needle-stick injuries. And yet the announcement caps a sobering couple of months for the Portland, OR-based company. Bioject slashed 38% of its staff in early November--12 workers--and shortened the work week for the remaining 20 employees, even as it announced that third-quarter revenue had doubled and generated a small, $372,000 profit.

Those positive numbers are from short-term gains, however, thanks in part to a big Merck Serono order during the previous quarter and higher sales to Merial, as Fierce told you when the November news broke. But it is unclear if substantial new orders are on the horizon. Regulatory issues are also another market hurdle. Bioject's plans to expand into the flu vaccine market hit a rigid FDA wall, because regulators don't want the vaccine given with injections not approved for that specific use.

Those obstacles make Bioject's business model a challenge. The company explains that it is focused on "developing mutually beneficial agreements with leading pharmaceutical, biotechnology and veterinary companies."

Bioject's describes its jet injection drug delivery process as "forcing medication at high speed through a tiny orifice held against the skin," with "a fine stream of high-pressure fluid" that penetrates the skin and leaves medication in the tissue underneath it.

- here's the company's release

Related Articles:
Bioject axes 38% of staff as needle-free biz faces revenue, FDA hurdles
Needle-free delivery market to double in 5 years, analyst says
FDA warns against needleless flu shots