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Safeguard's disappointing sale: About time

NuPathe a loss from 2000 IPO

It could have been worse: In paying $105 million, or $2.85 a share, for Exton-based NuPathe, which makes anti-nausea drug Zecuity for migraine sufferers, Endo Health Solutions, Chadds Ford, offered double what the tiny, nearly-illiquid company, which was spending $6 million a month with just $10 million on hand, was trading for in recent months. And NuPathe owners could collect another $3.15 a share if Zecuity reaches sales targets.

Still, that's short of the $10 a share NuPathe fetched when it went public way back in the boom year 2000, backed by local investors including Ira Lubert's Quaker BioVentures (which invests Pennsylvania state pension funds), as well as still-partly-Philly-focused global drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline.

Looking on the bright side: It's Safeguard's first company sale of any kind in two and a half years, writes Paul Knight, New York-based analyst at Janney Capital Markets. And it "could be a precusor to a more consistent flow of announcements in the future," given Safeguard's stated goal of "two liquidity events annually." Though he didn't predict which of Safeguard's 10 other healthcare investments, none based in the Philadelphia area, was likely to find a buyer soon. Safeguard also owns 11 software companies, including (help-wanted) of King of Prussia, Clutch Holdings (online retail) in Ambler, and ThingWorx ("machine-to-machine") of Exton.