Last night as my plane leveled off at 30,000 ft I decided to get stuck into a glass of wine and the Biotech Daily. While flicking through the bioscience news de jour, I saw the following comment about IQ3 Group (ASX : IQ3):
IQ3 says it has been appointed as corporate advisor to the Iqnovate agreement to acquire 50 percent of Emedia Creative and the proposed ASX listing of Emedia. IQ3 chief executive officer Dr George Syrmalis said that Iqnovate was “a ground breaking, innovative business … joining forces with a most inspiring and creative media house Emedia, creating a partnership that communicates life sciences in a coherent manner across society”.
IQ3 said that Dr Syrmalis was also the chief executive officer of Iqnovate.
IQ3 was untraded at 31.5 cents.
Now, I am a big fan of the Biotech Daily, and I particularly enjoy Langsam’s dry commentary. I read this passage a few times and it left me scratching my head…. so, does that mean that IQ3 basically advised itself???
Yes – that appears to the case.
Truthfully, I have never paid much attention to this company. I was aware that they were some sort of a life sciences advisory firm and that they’d completed a small IPO earlier this year that raised a few million bucks. They also seem to have a bunch of other IPOs on the go, including Farmaforce (not to be confused with PharmaForce or Farmafarce) and the recent Emedia announcement. This is a company that seems to have more “arms” than an octopus, and a greater propensity for the random stashing of marginally interesting companies than some kind of corporate sewer rat.
But what does the company actually do?
Honestly, I don’t know.
I read through the marketing guff on the website and aside from garnering that IQ3 is apparently the world’s first biotechnology corporate financial advisory and asset management firm (utter bollocks – but let’s just ignore Leerink, BVF, OrbiMed … or….even a Torreya Partners-type firm for a minute) and that they have a lot of pieces to the “group”, it was all just a bit confusing. I watched IQ3’s corporate video, which was very nice. It made me wonder if perhaps the company is developing a time machine and periodically organises birthday parties.
It’s well worth a watch.
Although given that this is a biotech advisory firm, the time lapse video is perhaps more suggestive of something from Species. You know what I am talking about – a top secret gene splicing project that blends alien DNA with human DNA and results in a chimeric organism that goes from juvenile to full reproductive maturity (and super-hotness) in about 3 hours. You can watch that particular trailer here. I think IQ3 borrowed a lot of visual cues from the Species trailer and I think it is more than a little bit coincidental the alien DNA in Species was picked up by the Parkes Telescope in Australia.
But all mockery aside (and no disrespect intended to the little girl with cancer in the movie – though like the Species trailer she also turns out pretty hot in the end when she grows up, which is good), I really wanted to understand what the Biotech Daily was talking about and so I did the obligatory google search of “IQ3” and “Emedia Creative”. I kept getting a primary hit to the home page of IQ3 but when I looked around on the page I couldn’t see any useful information. Only Farmafarce…. er… force.
It was very perplexing.
Then… at the very bottom of IQ3’s home page, in almost imperceptible dark blue lettering, I saw a size 7 font “Emedia Creative” link. Huh? I click on the link and I get directed to a web page for a product and website design company, you know, the company that put IQ3’s web site together. There is even a client testimonial from George Syrmalis himself, which I really liked:
“Everything is just immaculate, if I were to use the words sexy and divine in one sentence, then I would use them to describe this web site!!!! You’ve done a great job!!! If creativity could kill you would be a weapon of mass destruction.”
Well, apparently, Emedia Creative is so sexy, and so divine, that one morning – while George Syrmalis was having an M&A discussion with … er… George Syrmalis, he decided that he should take a chunk of the action. Despite being the world’s first biotechnology-specific advisory firm, cashed up with a mini-IPO no less, IQ3 decided to advise itself on the partial acquisition (and apparently planned listing) of … drum roll … its web site designer! I can barely imagine the palpable excitement when George called George to confirm that the transaction was complete and to prepare the ASX disclosure.
I just hope that George’s advisory fees to George were reasonable.
Now, I don’t really know what the game plan is for IQ3 or where all this is going. Possibly the company has a vision about bringing together investing, media, product sales and commercialisation all under one roof. But it also tells you a lot about what the firm thinks about Australia’s biotechnology industry when the first transaction it manages to pull off post-IPO seems to be the partial acquisition of its web design contractor. It obviously feels there are pretty slim pickings out there at the moment.
Weapon of mass (shareholder value) destruction indeed…
Feature image taken from the still of a classic but also slightly disgusting youtube video of a snake eating itself. It seemed apt.