On The Block

Senetek PLC has hired Miller Tabak & Co. LLC as an exclusive financial and strategic adviser to help the Napa, Calif.-based company’s board review options and assist with development of a business plan designed to maximize Senetek’s assets. Options under consideration include a recapitalization, the sale of one or more assets, or a merger and business combination. Senetek researches and develops technologies used in both anti-aging skincare products and in drugs. For the second quarter, Senetek posted a loss of $1.3 million compared with profit of $257,000 a year earlier when the company earned about $1.125 million from a settlement to end a marketing deal with Triax Aesthetics LLC and a service provider.

IMS Health Inc. (NYSE: RX) is exploring its options a week after the provider of market intelligence products and services to the drug and health care industries received bids from private equity shops. The Norwalk, Conn.-based company hired Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. as financial adviser, and Foros Securities LLC will advise IMS Health’s board. IMS Health received a buyout bid from TPG, while Silver Lake and BC Partners submitted a separate joint proposal. There can be no assurance that the exploration of strategic alternatives will result in a transaction, IMS Health said. For the third quarter, IMS Health swung to a loss of $9.3 million from net income of $75.9 million a year earlier.

AutoImmune Inc. authorized its directors to explore strategic alternatives and the Pasadena, Calif.-based company hired Junewicz & Co. as financial adviser for the evaluation process. The biopharmaceutical concern is looking at business options after Phase III trials on its lead product (dirucotide) failed to meet the study’s primary endpoint of delaying disease progression. The two-year study enrolled patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. AutoImmune licensed dirucotide to BioMS Medical Corp. Junewicz will examine a sale or merger of AutoImmune, along with other options. For the second quarter, AutoImmune’s losses narrowed to $68,000 from $84,000 a year earlier. Revenue rose to $184,000 from $101,000.

Vion Pharmaceuticals Inc. is considering alternatives to help finance safety and effectiveness trials for its Onrigin anticancer agent. The New Haven, Conn.-based company hired Merriman Curhan Ford & Co. to help evaluate options, including debt restructuring, the sale of the company or its assets and other financing deals. Vion Pharmaceuticals may have to consider curtailing or ceasing operations or liquidating its assets if it fails to raise funds for the study. In August, the developer of cancer drugs reported its second-quarter losses narrowed to $6.6 million from $7.9 million. Vion Pharmaceucticals said it had sufficient funds to last through the second quarter of 2010 based on its current operating plan. It ended June 2009 with $26.1 million in cash and cash equivalents.