The company: Somaxon
The drug: Silenor
The target: Insomnia
Sales: $2.1 million for Q3
By the time Somaxon ($SOMX) won FDA approval for its insomnia drug Silenor on the third try back in the spring of 2010, the lengthy, frustrating process had already bled the company of $170 million. But an approval would do nothing to help the biotech find a big partner to market the drug. Instead, it started a sales effort with a tiny marketing force, which hit the streets with a new product in an already heavily crowded field.
Somaxon had found a recipe for disaster. By late last year, the San Diego-based company was forced to ax a large portion of its headquarters staff. And Stifel Nicolaus Weisel was hired as a strategic adviser to plumb the potential for a sale for a company with only $3.7 million in third-quarter (2011) sales.
But Somaxon's fortunes continued to worsen. By the third quarter of this year, product sales had slipped to a bit more than $2 million, lunch money in the pharma business.
Somaxon has inked a couple of small development deals in South Korea and Canada. And there's an OTC version to consider when looking at its U.S. potential. But this is one company that found itself in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong product.
Somaxon to axe HQ staffers as adviser explores possible sale
Somaxon buoyed by FDA word on OTC Silenor
Somaxon (finally) wins FDA approval for sleep drug Silenor