*A guy goes to a mathematician and asks him how much ONE BILLION plus ONE HUNDRED MILLION equals. The mathematician explains that there are so many different mathematical systems, that he can’t possibly answer that question without lecturing for at least an hour about the philosophical underpinnings of mathematics.*

*The guy next goes to an accountant to ask how much ONE BILLION plus ONE HUNDRED MILLION equals. The accountant takes out his spreadsheet, does the calculation, and informs him that using generally accepted accounting principles, ONE BILLION plus ONE HUNDRED MILLION equals exactly ONE BILLION, ONE HUNDRED MILLION.*

*Next step is the CEO’s office of an Australian ASX-listed biotech company. The guy asks the CEO the same question – how much is ONE BILLION plus ONE HUNDRED MILLION. The CEO looks around shiftily, takes the telephone off the receiver, closes the window blinds and and gently shuts the door. He then asks in a slightly scared and whispered tone: with or without a NASDAQ listing?*

**Ha ha.**

Actually, I think this is the beginning of the end for Mesoblast (ASX : MSB, NASDAQ : MESO). What a roller-coaster… and in truth, it’s not really all that funny.

Mesoblast has never been cheaper relative to its stage of development and if Celgene doesn’t exercise its ROFR, then this is clearly a totally unloved company. If Celgene *doesn’t* exercise it’s ROFR, it also begs the question whether MSB’s shareholder communication strategy had serious – perhaps even misleading – flaws. Bad press prior to IPO didn’t help but the US market has clearly revalued (devalued?) one of our flagship companies and this is going to have some serious consequences for all.

I am honestly gutted by this turn of events – this is a significant outcome for our biosciences sector and it basically sets the “bar” for what Australian biotech companies can expect going to the US markets. Between MSB and BLT, US analysts are just simply going to start applying the “Down Under Discount” (DUD) of 50%.

That sucks.

It’s also tragic when a stock ticker has etymological relevance : Meso = “middle”. Honestly, was MSB thinking? A middling outcome indeed…

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