Anatoly Chubais spent $ 311 million on a non-existent ointment

State Corporation Rusnano has invested millions of dollars in a developer of ointment from arthritis, which differs little from a dummy.
State corporation "Rosnano" was created to promote high technologies in Russia, nanoindustry and new productions. Its net loss for 2017 exceeded 5 billion rubles, in previous years it was much larger. Since 2007, the state support of this state corporation has amounted to about 400 billion rubles. But the state corporation Rusnano is a planned unprofitable enterprise. As its leaders say, investing in new projects is always risky. And if you do not take risks and avoid losses, there will be no innovations.

The problem is that everyone has different views on innovation. And about the investment of the state corporation, there are often questions.

In the "Panama file" there is evidence of how the top manager of "Rosnano" introduced his acquaintance to the Maltese bank. The offshore company of this acquaintance was to open an account there and make money on the distribution of innovative ointment, to which Rusnano invested millions of dollars. Curiously, earlier clinical studies have shown that the ointment is harmless, but it differs little from the substance without obvious healing properties - that is, pacifiers.

In September 2011, Rusnano and the British investment fund Celtic Pharma established a joint venture Pro Bono Bio (RVB) with headquarters in Moscow and London for the production of innovative drugs. Rosnano planned to invest $ 300 million (about 19 billion rubles) in it and get a little less than 50% of the enterprise.

Even the then prime minister of Great Britain David Cameron spoke on this occasion. He called the project "a brilliant example of British-Russian cooperation in research and development."

The day after the release of the press release in the UK, they wanted to start selling the first drug, Flexiseq nanomazes, to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis. Then the market planned to release drugs for eczema and psoriasis. And subsequently - antigens for the treatment of hematological diseases and antibiotics of a new generation.

Since the task of RUSNANO is to develop new production facilities in Russia, Pro Bono Bio was to order production of medical preparations for Russian enterprises within a year. Later, together with Rusnano, it was planned to build a pharmaceutical plant. At least, this was mentioned in the press release. It was also specified there that the price for an innovative ointment in Russia will be two times less than in Europe.

Magic Potion

The start of nanomazy sales in the UK in 2011 did not take place. Judging by the reports of the RWB group, the ointment came out much later on the British market. In January 2014, a press release appeared that "Pro Bono Bio starts selling an innovative drug in the UK." David Cameron again did not stand aside and the ointment was praised: "It's very good that today, less than three years later, the company's first drug is on sale and can ease the lives of 9 million patients with osteoarthritis in the UK."

Meanwhile, the innovative ointment is certified as a "medical product". This is not a cure. Instead of the active substance, it uses "phospholipid nanoparticles", which are designed to help the patient. Before the joint project with the Russian state corporation Celtic Pharma tried to attract to the promotion of ointment as leaders of the pharmaceutical industry (including AstraZeneka, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline), and small companies. But the innovative drug did not arouse their interest.

Despite the expansion of the geography of sales of ointment (today - about two dozen countries), revenues from them continue to fall (see infographics). In the hope of adding nanomaz to the list of prescription drugs for which monetary compensation would be reimbursed, PBB paid several years for clinical trials. The study confirmed the safety of the ointment, "but the main goal - a statistically significant reduction in pain compared to the placebo-treated control group - was not achieved," the PBB report says. And, for example, in the American market, on which they made a special bet, it was not able to obtain a license.

As for Russia, the ointment can be bought only on the Internet for 3000 rubles, delivery - "courier from a warehouse in Berlin." No contract production, no plant for six years did not appear. But in the "Rosnano" do not despair.

"Rosnano" systematically implements the strategy for the withdrawal of innovative drugs on the Russian market. In 2017, Pro Bono Bio signed an agreement with one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in Russia to promote the product on the market after the registration is completed. The agreement provides for the further production of the product in Russia at the facilities of this company in full compliance with the international quality standards of GMP. We expect that by the end of 2018 Flexiseq will pass the necessary stages of registration in Russia and in the shortest possible time will be available on pharmacy shelves, "Rusnano said. Approximately the same was the company's press release in 2011.

Who tried to earn

In the Panama Dossier among potential sellers of nanomazy Novaya Gazeta discovered a friend of one of the top managers of Rosnano.

In the documents of the law firm Mossack Fonseca (MF), which became available through the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), there is information about Maltese Milanco Trading Limited.

It was created in 2014 "for the Russian client" to sell nanomaz in several European countries. The firm was indeed mentioned among the organizations with which PBB has a partnership agreement on the distribution of products. In particular, Milanco received the right to distribute drugs in Italy.

The Panama Dossier also has data on how much Milanco planned to make: she wanted to buy drugs from PBB for 8.5 euros and sell for 13.5 euros. Of these 5 euros, the firm intended to pay 2 euros to Digital Marketing Dubai ("for various services"), another 1.5 euros - to an unnamed offshore ("for the fact that the company introduced us PBB and helped to get exclusivity with Flexiseq" ) and only 1.5 euros to keep.

The final owner of Milanco in the MF files is Sergey Balashov from Krasnoznamensk outside Moscow. He served in the Space Forces for many years, became a colonel. By the middle of the two thousandth he resigned and has since worked as an engineer in companies supplying various equipment. What relation could he have to off-shore and the spread of ointment?

In the past, Balashov studied at the Kuibyshev Aviation Institute along with Vladimir Eroshkin, the father of one of the former managers of Rosnano, Pavel Eroshkin. Until 2017, Pavel Eroshkin worked in management positions in Rosnano and state-owned enterprises. Being deputy director of Rusnano Capital, Pavel Eroshkin told journalists about the launch of PBB in 2011. He also headed the Russian companies of the PBB group and until last year was the director of the British PBB plc.

In a telephone conversation, Balashov confirmed that he knew Eroshkin's father. But after the issue of the spread of ointment, which invested in "Rosnano", the connection was interrupted. Since then, contact with Balashov failed.

MF documents testify that Pavel Eroshkin wrote for Balashov a letter of recommendation, which was required to open a Milanco account in the Maltese bank. In the letter, Eroshkin wrote that he had been working with Balashov for three years and an extremely high opinion of him.

Pavel Eroshkin, to whom he managed to get through, said that he does not understand "what is the point of these issues," and refused to comment on the situation.

Milanco did not manage to participate in the development of innovative money. After receiving a letter of recommendation from Eroshkin, the bank began to ask questions about the planned activities of Milanco, owners and future contractors. There were no replies, and Milanco was left without an account. In 2016, the company was liquidated, and did not start trading.

Asian approach

Among the distributors of PBB products there are well-known pharmacy chains and little-known firms that raise questions. For example, Green Park Medical Ltd from Malaysia, which, half a year after its establishment, entered into an agreement with PBB to distribute drugs in Southeast Asia. And the Singapore Asiaseq Pte. Ltd, which on its website calls itself the exclusive distributor of PBB products in the region. Both firms belong to one person - Andrei Garbuz.

Garbuz is named the "ambassador" of the PBB group in June 2012. He promoted an innovative ointment around the world: he gave it to Senegalese pilgrims, and then he started Asian sales in Malaysia. In December 2017, he pointed out in his social network Linkedin his new post - the head of PBB in Asia and the markets. Given that the state corporation Rosnano has a stake in PBB, Garbuz actually became the manager of one of the structures of Rosnano. As of June 2018, according to registers, he was still listed as the owner of distribution companies.

We phoned Andrei Garbuz, but he did not want to comment on the situation.

"The situation in which the company's product is sold through an intermediary firm owned by the company's top manager is a classic conflict of interest. If it is a private company, then shareholders should be notified about this, and managers themselves should avoid such a conflict, "believes Ilya Shumanov, the deputy director of Transparency International Russia. "If it is a worker of the granddaughter of a state corporation, then the norms of the" anti-corruption policy "Rosnano" adopted in 2017 may apply to it. However, it is formulated in such a way that subsidiaries and affiliates do not assume obligations on declaring a conflict of interest, "the expert notes.

Escaping Finance

Find out how much money Rosnano has spent on innovative ointment is not easy. On the website of the state corporation this story is missing. And since 2014, "Rosnano" does not indicate in the annual reports the costs of specific projects. But there are documents of the Luxembourg company Fonds Rusnano Capital S.A., through which the state corporation transferred funds.

Initially, Rosnano planned to invest $ 300 million in the project. But it turned out differently. "Rosnano funds in the amount of $ 150.0 million, listed in Fonds Rusnano Capital S.A. <...> Back in 2010, to date, the sphere of nanotechnology is not invested and continue to remain on the accounts of Fonds Rusnano Capital S.A., "the report of the Accounting Chamber in 2013 said.

"Thus, 311.1 million US dollars (70.7% of the allocated funds) listed by Rosnano to Fonds Rusnano Capital SA are not used for the purpose of attracting foreign investment in joint international nanotechnology funds. The said funds are placed on deposits with foreign banks, and the purchase and sale of securities of various companies, including Alrosa, Emirat Air, Evraz Group, etc., are carried out through these funds, "the auditors noted. .

However, even after the conclusion of the auditors, $ 150 million remained in the company's accounts in the column "unclaimed liabilities". In 2016, this graph from the report disappeared.

"The assumption of misuse of funds is not true," - objected to the press service of Rosnano. They noted that the volume of the project Pro Bono Bio was $ 300 million. And "Rosnano" was supposed to invest money in proportion to the partner's contribution - not more than 50%. The maximum amount of Rusnano's investment in the project was $ 150 million (this statement contradicts the reporting of Fond Rosnano Capital, audit of the Accounting Chamber and Rusnano's own press release of 2011). But the foreign partner failed to attract investments in full, so the state corporation stopped investing in the project, having reached a parity participation. The representative of Rosnano stressed that state corporations are prohibited from exceeding the partner's contribution in accordance with the investment mandate. The remaining funds were returned to Rusnano and directed to finance other investment funds.

A couple of years ago, while debating with Alexei Navalny, the head of Rosnano, Anatoly Chubais, said: "I do not need to ask for patents and fundamental science. From me for the factories it is necessary to ask. Including for the unsuccessful. "

Plants in Russia PBB has not built. But in "Rosnano" again they do not lose optimism: "Pro Bono Bio is an example of Rusnano's successful investment in foreign pharmaceuticals with a thoughtful prospect of localizing a unique medical product on the Russian market. <...> The Pro Bono Bio Foundation will fully comply with Rusnano's strategy abroad: creating a world-class product with the subsequent transfer of technology to Russia. "


More money

All these years the PBB group was unprofitable, and the decrease in the value of its assets looks dramatic. In 2015, its assets were estimated at 745 million pounds. And in 2016 - already at 223 million pounds. That is, for the year the group lost about 43 billion rubles. (at the current rate). This is more than 70% of the total cost. The group initially had virtually no tangible assets - real estate, machines and equipment. PBB did not create its own production, ordering an ointment to a third-party manufacturer.

As a result, all that the group had at its disposal was "intangible assets": licenses, development rights, trademarks and intellectual property. However, the value of such assets consists of an assessment of potential product prospects. If in the end the product does not pass clinical trials, it turns out not to be interesting to customers - the company receives immediate losses.

In 2017, PBB was on the verge of bankruptcy, because it could not pay interest on the loan of 15 million pounds, taken in 2015 by the Canadian Knight Therapeutics. "Help" came to the "daughter" of "Rosnano" - the Luxembourg Fonds Rusnano Capital S.A. She bought the Canadians' debts and added a few million from herself. In general, in 2017, "Rosnano" sent more than 18 million pounds (about 1.5 billion rubles) to save PBB. Since the group still could not service these debts, Rosnano agreed to transfer 80% of payments to 2020.

Granted to "Rosnano" loans will be enough only to continue selling the ointment before the end of 2019, the report says PBB. All these years, sales of ointments bring less than is spent on its production and administrative costs.