This fall ABC is launching a new show with Courtney Cox called "Cougar Town." Courtney was one of my favorite "Friends" stars and cougars are certainly a hot cultural phenomenon. Could cougars be five minutes ago by the time the show premieres? Perhaps. But maybe ABC has a hit on its hands. New TV shows are always a roll of the dice.
And so is Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) journey into "Cougar Town."
Last night the drug, medical device and consumer products behemoth announced it's buying Cougar Biotechnology (CGRB) for nearly a billion bucks. CGRB has a prostate cancer treatment in late-stage development. It's not a huge amount of cash for a company the size of JNJ , but it's still a decent-sized gamble on a drug that as at least a couple of analysts have been quick to point out has not yet shown a holy-grail "overall survival" benefit.
And isn't it poetic that Cougar Biotech is based (where else?) in la-la land? On the company's homepage there's a picture of a real cougar...as in the animal. So, I guess someone who started the company had something for cougars. Just out of curiosity that's one of the questions I probably would've asked the CEO, but through a spokesperson Cougar isn't doing any media today. We would've put him on live sometime around the opening bell. Why wouldn't the CEO of a little biotech that is selling his company for a 16 percent premium (bigger if you measure the takeout price against the stock's recent run-up) want to come on CNBC and take a well-deserved victory lap? They suggested the possibility of interviewing him at the upcoming ASCO conference when CGRB's data are coming out, but even though the results might be clinically meaningful, from an investment perspective they'll be meaningless. The newsy stock story is today. Not a week-and-a-half from now. Before the deal was announced we had plans to book Cougar's CEO for a live interview from ASCO on CNBC's "Fast Money" because Melissa Lee, the traders and I have good fun "playing around" with the company's name and, of course, as evidenced by JNJ's deal it's a developmental drug story worthy of attention.
Oddly, when I went to Cougar's website this morning, more than 12 hours after the acquisition announcement, the press release wasn't even there. But you can find it at JNJ's website.
That and CGRB's decline of our invitation to come on our air today tells me JNJ is the cougar here.