On The Block

StockerYale Inc. (NASDAQ: STKR) plans to evaluate its financial and strategic alternatives. The company has hired Needham & Co. to assist in the process. StockerYale designs and makes lasers and specialty optical fibers that have applications in the industrial, medical and defense markets. The Salem, N.H.-based company also plans to voluntarily delist its stock from the Nasdaq exchange, as it was out of compliance with certain listing requirements. Instead, the company’s shares will trade on the over-the-counter Bulletin Board. For 2008, StockerYale’s losses widened to $10.3 million from $8.5 million a year ago. Its latest annual report includes a going concern statement from its auditor, Vitale Caturano & Co. PC.

NexMed Inc. (Nasdaq: NEXM) has hired financial advisor FTN Equity Capital Markets Corp. to assist in the company’s evaluation of its strategic alternatives. Options on the table include merger and acquisition transactions. On March 24, 2009, the East Windsor, N.J.-based developer of transdermal drugs received a warning letter that its stock could be delisted from the Nasdaq exchange for not complying with listing rules. NexMed’s losses for 2008 narrowed to $5.2 million from $8.8 million a year earlier, and its most recent annual report contains a going concern statement from its independent auditors.

Kowa Pharmaceuticals America Inc. plans to divest its line of diclofenec pain and migraine treatments. The Montgomery, Ala.-based company has hired Robert W. Baird & Co. as exclusive financial adviser. The assets on the block include Kowa Pharmaceuticals’s experimental PRO-513 drug with the proposed trade name Cambia. Kowa Pharmaceuticals decided to sell these assets after it determined the migraine and pain product candidates were not aligned with its long-term plans to concentrate on the cardiometabolic therapeutic field. Kowa Pharmaceuticals America was formed when Kowa Company Ltd. of Japan acquired ProEthic Pharmaceuticals Inc. in August 2008 as a means of entering the U.S. market.

Midwest Banc Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: MHCI) is considering a sale of the Melrose, Ill.-based bank along with other strategic alternatives. It hired Fox-Pitt Kelton Cochran Caronia Waller LLC to help with the review process. Midwest Banc, which has $3.6 billion in assets, is reviewing its options only a few months after installing a new CEO, Jay Fritz, in February. Midwest Banc’s banking unit, Midwest Bank & Trust Co., operates 27 full-service centers. The business’s other principal unit is Midwest Financial & Investment Services Inc. The company is scheduled to report its first-quarter earnings on April 28.