Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fran Townsend Senior PEU

Frances Fragos Townsend's primary job changed.  She's no longer the head of Baker Botts Investigative Division, but a Senior Vice President for MacAndrews & Forbes.  MacAndrews & Forbes states it is a holding company, but it has much in common with private equity underwriters (PEU's).  Look how many entities were involved in their 2009 Revlon deal:


This is how they control a "public company" in PEU like fashion:

MacAndrews & Forbes Reporting Persons have been, and currently are, able to control the election of the entire Board of Directors of Revlon and control the vote on all matters submitted to a vote of Revlon’s stockholders, including the approval of mergers, consolidations, sales of some, all or substantially all of Revlon’s assets, issuances of capital stock and similar transactions.

Fran Townsend landed a new board seat at SIGA Technologies, a company specializing in the development of pharmaceutical agents to combat bio-warfare pathogens, with a smallpox drug as its lead product.   It's a MacAndrews & Forbes holding.  Her seat came with stock options for 25,000 shares at $15.29 per share.

CityBizList reported Fran's work history:

Ms. Townsend, age 49, is currently Senior Vice President of Worldwide Government, Legal and Business Affairs at MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc. Prior to joining MacAndrews & Forbes, she was a partner at the international law firm Baker Botts, LLP following a distinguished career in government. Among her governmental responsibilities, Ms. Townsend was Assistant to President George W. Bush for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism; chair of the Homeland Security Council; Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism; and first Assistant Commandant for Intelligence for the U.S. Coast Guard. In addition to her current responsibilities at MacAndrews & Forbes, Ms. Townsend is also a counterterrorism, national and homeland security expert for CNN and serves on numerous government advisory and nonprofit boards, chairs the Board of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission.

Not mentioned in this bio are her board seats at Scientific Games and DRS/Finmeccanica Defense Solutions.  Also omitted was her Senior Advisor position with Monument Capital, which has a Carlyle stacked advisory board.  Fran also contributes to The Daily Beast, fitting for her beastly Lessons Learned report on Hurricane Katrina.    For some reason the media can't find that story.

Will they find Uncle Sam's "on again-off again" order for 1.7 million treatment courses of SIGA's smallpox antiviral?  How might Fran get that back on track?  Noteworthy items from SIGA's annual report:

The U.S. government is the principal source of worldwide biodefense spending. Most U.S. government spending on biodefense programs results from development funding awarded by NIAID, BARDA and the Department of Defense (“DoD”), and procurement of countermeasures by the HHS, the CDC and the DoD. The U.S. government is now the largest source of development and procurement funding for academic institutions and biotechnology companies conducting biodefense research or developing vaccines and immunotherapies directed at potential agents of bioterror or biowarfare.

As for SIGA's core competencies in smallpox and hemorrhagic fever viruses:

We do not have the ability to independently conduct the clinical trials, and certain animal trials, required to obtain regulatory approval for our products. We depend on independent investigators, contract research organizations and other third party service providers to conduct trials of our drug candidates and expect to continue to do so.

We currently rely on third parties to manufacture drug candidates that we require for pre-clinical and clinical development. In addition, we indicated in our response to the BARDA Smallpox RFP that we intend to manufacture ST-246® using contract manufacturers.
 It's not only what you know, it's who...