Speculation, but here is what I think has gone down:
I think after all the talk and promises, Dino has finally delivered on that 50/50 deal with big pharma and working by the patent issues. However, it came at a cost. To achieve the objective after the Daum slap-down, to make the deal Dino had to hand the keys over.
Looking at Gray's resume, he's been the connsumate insider, starting w/SmithCline Beecham, climbing, and with the merger into GSK, continuing the climb to VERY HIGH in GSK (when Witty became CEO, Gray ascended to Witty's former position). Thus I don't think Gray leapt ship, but just the opposite has burned NO bridges.
So I think we'll see a deal announced for Heplisav w/GSK, but importantly, w/Gray at the helm DVAX in a sense a defacto subsidiary of GSK. A separate company but with extraordinarily stong ties to GSK (GSK getting first dibs on any development).
Possibly DVAX to be merged into the GSK mothership one day, but maybe not ...
... What we may be seeing here is a new twist on Big Pharma partnering/acquisitions. Target company (DVAX in this case) to remain quasi-independent; thus big pharma mitigates the risk of an up-front acquisition ($$$), instead installing a minion to take a 100% look under the covers before possibly acquiring. But also possibly not acquiring even if all looks good ... after all, as JSPoetry pointed out a long time ago, workers & scientists at a small independent company will work their keesters off to push ahead; whereas once in the lush big-money comfort of big pharma, life choices change and those same folks will rather attend the kids soccer games evening & weekends versus working 24/7.
Then I think Martin likely departed as he read the tea leaves and foresaw the end of the exciting independent journey. But as a reward for his efforts and to bring him in-line with the new order, he's given the same SWEET "consultancy" package as Dino. These are their "under-the-covers" compensation ... more ...
Agree, having a former GSK at the helm, more likely to receive additional GSK contracts in the future. Note: have you seen the ages of those on BOD most are in their late 70's. They either will retire soon or stay on for a home run buyout !! Looks exciting no matter how you slice it.
Nicely said, Citic.
I think that your assessment of it is "on the money".
With a 4 program, $800 MM partnership deal in place, I would think that GSK already has enough of an under the hood look. The sticky point of the whole thing has always been Heplisav (over if and how much to pay for it, considering Engerix-B)
I'm confident that they already have enough of a view of the TLR-7 / TLR-9 science to know that it's genuine and valueable.
Now the biggest (real) question is, how much will they be willing to pay for taking the company?
Will they low-ball the offer or will they give Dynavax a fair valuation. GSK clearly has the money to buy this several times over, but no one likes to overpay. So which will it be?
Years previous, big pharma's plan for countering the expiring patent problem was to scour around and find smaller start-up companies with solid science and technology which they could benefit from without re-inventing the wheel (so to speak) That is basically what has been going on here in slowly developing manner.
Nice assessment and write up though.
Hey, here's a question for you. Who do you think is the bigger scoundrel? The Biancos? Or Dino? ;-)
I agree with your intimations here & other posts that Dino & Martin fumbled the ball, and that the Daum fiasco was a real shakeup/awakening.
Long ago I wondered on this board, why the latest PIII over-40 trial was not a SUPERIORITY trial? Every single trial the numbers aligned perfectly as expected; why not take what in my mind looked to be a gimme SUPERIORITY indication versus a NON-INFERIORITY indication.
Also shook my head on (first time expressed here maybe), why Martin was not equipped with suitable come-backs in Nov. After all, once Daum made the "not efficacious" vote, everyone listening KNEW big trouble was afoot. Therefore, in my mind Martin should have pressed on 2 things:
1) PIII over-40 trial met a secondary superiority endpoint.
2) Compound not approved meant 'x' number of lives not saved. i.e. Some extra # of folks would DIE given the not-so-good efficacy of current vaccines in hard-to-treat populations.
I heard neither mentioned even once.
Until I find otherwise, I like Gray aboard. A guy of that stature and straight from GSK (fingers crossed) can't be a bad thing as previously discussed.
Dino was shown the door about a year ago, when it was announced he was "leaving". One problem---the stupid BofD did not have a replacement ! Also, when JPM (who led the last 2 offerings) shopped DVAX they couldn't come up with any satisfactory bids back then, which DVAX subsequently announcing that they were going to hire a sales force & do it themselves. YIKES ! That in a nutshell all happened before they had issues with the FDA or one of their 13D holders dumped a large position around $5+.
... These are their "under-the-covers" compensation for signing off on the deal, which must've been tough, the big dream in some senses a wash.
As shareholders, this should be a strong positive (& thus the accompanying additional options to Dino & Martin).
Assuming Heplisav partners in this manner, downside is that GSK already has ~67% market share. Thus I'd see them getting Heplisav out reasonably soon to underserved populations (where they can then dominate based on the data AND charge a hefty premium). However they might well take their good ol' time otherwise.
Making this more a sell-on-the-news situation versus a hold.
After sell-on-the-news, either move on, or resume R&R.