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Melnyk’s next big move

Tony Best

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Now that his legal battle with the Ontario Securities Commission is behind him, Eugene Melnyk, the wealthy Canadian businessman who lives in Barbados has moved to get back into the corporate ownership of a major pharmaceutical company in Canada.
Melnyk, who owns the Senators National Hockey League team in Ottawa and Bert’s Bar in Barbados, is said to be the driving financial force and a major shareholder of Trimel Biopharma, a pharmaceutical company.
Melnyk was recently slapped with a five-year ban by the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) from taking up any senior roles in public companies, but that decision negotiated jointly by the OSC and Melnyk and his attorneys is not expected to prohibit the Canadian businessman from moving ahead with Trimel Biopharma and it would not be a roadblock to his position as majority shareholder.
His troubles with Ontario regulators that began in 2003 and ended last month can be traced to  Canadian pharmaceutical giant Biovail Corporation, which Melnyk founded and ran as chairman and chief executive officer for many years before stepping down and eventually selling his stake in the specialty pharmaceutical company.  
Originally, the OSC had accused him and three Biovail executives of misleading investors by allegedly making disclosures about a truck accident involving a shipment of Biovail drugs but in the end, the two sides decided to settle the case with Melnyk agreeing to pay CAN$ 565 000 in costs towards a regulatory investigation.
During Melnyk’s years at Biovail’s helm, the company saw its revenues skyrocket from CAN$19 million in 1995 to more than CAN$1 billion a decade later.
Less than two months ago, shareholders of J5 Acquisition Corporation agreed to merge with Trimel Biopharma Holdings, a privately owned pharmaceutical company registered in Barbados and primarily involved in boosting the use of known and successfully marketed pharmaceutical compounds.
A key strategy is to use sophisticated technologies to reduce any side effects of medications while improving patient outcomes. The amalgamated company plans to create a Barbados company called Surviving Corporation.
Melnyk, also a successful race horse owner, recently won a judgment in Barbados when the Court of Appeal ruled in his favour in a case involving the 2004 Gold Cup, perhaps the Caribbean’s leading horse racing classic.
There is considerable speculation in Ontario about Trimel Biopharma’s going public and about the implications of such a move for Melnyk, given the rules governing his suspension.