San Diego’s biopharmaceutical firm Sorrento Therapeutics Inc. has hired advisors to help the company come up with strategies to boost shareholder value, the company said in a news release. The announcement comes shortly after a minority shareholder publicly expressed dissatisfaction with the company’s management.
Sorrento Therapeutics, which employs nearly 100 in San Diego, hired Guggenheim Securities and PJT Partners to review a number of undisclosed options.
"As part of the ongoing evaluation of our portfolio of assets we decided to engage industry leading firms to advise us on potential alternatives and strategies," said Henry Ji, president and CEO of Sorrento in a statement. "Although there are no assurances that the process we commenced will result in a transaction, we believe the expertise of both Guggenheim Securities and PJT Partners will provide us with the best ability to fully evaluate options to enhance shareholder value."
Sorrento does not have a defined timeline for these “alternatives” and is not confirming that the evaluation of the company will result in any strategic alternative being announced or consummated. The company does not intend to disclose further developments during the process unless and until its board has approved a specific action or otherwise determined that further disclosure is appropriate.
In other Sorrento Therapeutics news, an activist minority shareholder of the company released a letter Friday demanding the termination of CEO Ji. Wildcat Capital Management LLC, whose clients hold an ownership stake of 6.5 percent of the common stock of Sorrento Therapeutics, urged the board in a letter to take specific actions to remedy the “ongoing destruction of significant shareholder value.” In particular, the letter calls for the board to immediately terminate and replace Ji as CEO and to stop recently announced financing transactions to avoid further dilution to the existing shareholders.
The letter also calls for the appointment of three Wildcat nominees to the board to lead a special committee authorized to initiate a sales process for the company.
Sorrento currently has a market cap of $212 million, and reported a net loss of $50 million in 2015.