By Rob Wright, Chief Editor, Life Science Leader
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The darkest days of Jazz Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: JAZZ) came in April 2009. “Our stock price was 53 cents a share,” recalls the company’s cofounder, chairman, and CEO, Bruce Cozadd. Having negative equity, $120 million in long-term debt, around $15 million in cash, and being unable to raise capital, Jazz was in serious trouble. “We were in default on our debt, literally talking to bankruptcy attorneys every day,” Cozadd says. The decision facing Jazz leadership in December 2008 had been whether to make the next interest payment to debt holders or to fund an ongoing clinical trial. “We had enough money in the bank to make the payment, but we didn’t think we had enough to make that payment and continue the clinical trial,” shares Cozadd. By not making the debt payment, the company was at risk of being shut down. Nevertheless, the leadership of Jazz decided to use the money toward continuing the clinical trial.