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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Soros’ Biotech Bet Loses $11M

By Yaser Anwar, CSC of Equity Investment Ideas

Billionaire investor George Soros lost big on a bet that biotech company Valentis would successfully develop a breakthrough cardiovascular treatment.

Yesterday, Burlingame, Calif.-based Valentis announced that a clinical trial of its main drug, VLTS 934, which was supposed to treat peripheral arterial disease, failed. The company said that the drug trial showed no "statistically significant difference" between it and a placebo.

This was the second time a Valentis drug failed at trial in the past two years and the company has no other drugs in the pipeline, reports the New York Post.

The company said that it "is assessing strategic opportunities, which include the sale or merger of the company."

Valentis’ stock dropped nearly 80 percent on the news, making Soros’ 25.4 percent stake in the company virtually worthless, says the Post. Soros reportedly lost $11.3 million. Shares of Valentis hit a low of 59 cents in trading this morning. The company hit a 52-week high of $4.06 per share on April 25.

The New York Post says that, as recently as April, one of Soros’ investment executives expected the drug trial to be a success. And a recent article predicted that the drug had a potential market of $500 million.

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