Terren Scott Peizer dubbed the “Zelig of Wall Street” is currently the Chairman of his personal Los Angeles-based investment company, Acuitas Group Holdings (AGH), which in turn owns 100% of Crede Capital Group (CCG) which invests in public companies, and provides growth capital to small and medium-sized enterprises. Since its inception in June 2009, CCG has provided companies with capital commitments and funding in excess of $1.2 Billion. Besides its ownership of Crede Capital, Acuitas Group owns 78% of Catasys, Inc. a provider of proprietary big data based analytics and predictive modeling driven behavioral health management services for health plans; and owns 100% of NeurMedix, Inc., a biotech company that develops and commercializes disease modifying small molecules to treat neuro-degenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Migraine disease, Huntington’s disease, ALS, MS, Epilepsy, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Retina disease. Peizer is Founder, Chairman of the three Acuitas companies, and is CEO of Catasys, Inc. and Crede Capital Group. Having developed a bioscience and healthcare expertise, Peizer’s Crede Capital became the largest shareholder in 22nd Century Group, Inc., a public company that is commercializing bio-plant technology to harm-reduce tobacco, creating very low nicotine and very low tar tobacco products which affect levels of addiction and cancer causing carcinogens. On October 1, 2015 New England Journal of Medicine published a landmark study on the company’s very low nicotine spectrum cigarettes. In October 2014, Peizer and 22nd Century formed a JV to commercialize the company’s products in China with China National Tobacco Company, the largest tobacco company in the world and the largest monopoly in China. China represents over 50% of the worldwide tobacco market.
Raised in Beachwood, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, Peizer has frequently noted the importance of his family and his Ohio upbringing in various interviews. Although he has been called “One of Wall Street’s top players”, Peizer has exhibited a humble and modest lifestyle consistent with his Midwestern upbringing. It is believed that he still lives in the same condominium he first purchased in the 1980s when he moved to California.
Over the years, Peizer has been the largest beneficial stockholder and has held various senior executive positions within several technology and biotech companies. Peizer, a graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has extensive background in venture capital, investing, Mergers and Acquisitions and corporate finance. He has provided his expertise and assisted companies by assembling management teams, boards of directors and scientific advisory boards, formulating business and financial strategies, and establishing investor relations. Peizer has held senior executive positions with some of the top investment banking firms such as Goldman Sachs, First Boston and Drexel Burnham Lambert.
In 1980, at just 20 years old, Peizer was recruited by Robert Rubin of Goldman Sachs from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and was believed to be the youngest associate during that era. In 1983 he was recruited by First Boston, where Peizer instantly became the most profitable high yield bond trader. He was occasionally referred to as the “Michael Milken of the East Coast”, as he provided Drexel Burnham Lambert clients with an alternative to the Milken controlled High Yield Bond market. During his time at First Boston, Peizer led the first financing for a little known reverse merger company, Danaher Inc. Today Danaher is one of America’s largest industrial companies. Peizer’s most notable work while at First Boston came in 1984 when Peizerled the restructuring and financing of Ted Turner’s insolvent Turner Broadcasting Corporation which specifically capitalized Turner Broadcasting Corp’s CNN and WTBS Super Station with $185 Million; thereby saving it from bankruptcy.
In the spring of 1985,in an effort to remove the competition from the marketplace, Michael Milken recruited the young Peizer as a Senior Vice President of Drexel Burnham Lambert. Michael Milken immediately anointed Peizer as his “Protege and Lefthand Man,” as they shared clients, desk and phone before taking over all of Milken’s direct client responsibilities, which made Peizer the most productive in the High Yield Bond department.
In 1990, after being laid off with 5,300 other Drexel employees in the midst of Drexel’s liquidation Peizer purchased a minor league basketball team, the Omaha Racers. After his purchase, the Racers won the CBA Championship and Peizer took that opportunity to sell the team.
With “Peizer’s reputation as one of Milken’s sharp-elbowed traders preceding him,” Peizer then started his investment company Beachwood Financial and Wendover Financial Corporation before teaming up with Neil Cole. Peizer and Cole went on to capitalize the company Candies, which is the predecessor to today’s multibillion-dollar Iconix Brand Group. During Peizer’s early investment career, his function for many of these smaller and development stage companies was once described as “lender of almost last resort”but Peizer’s investment savvy empowered him to get favorable deals with these companies still in their early developmental stages. From 1997 to 1999 Peizer worked with Richard B. Hollis to raise funding for Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals through a reverse merger; the company was developing drugs for HIV and other infectious diseases and during that time Peizer became so immersed in the scientific literature about HIV and AIDS and in the market for HIV drugs that colleagues started calling him “Dr. Peizer.”
From 1999 through 2002 Peizer was Chairman of the Board of industry leading supercomputer designer and builder Cray, Inc., a Nasdaq Global Market company, and remains its largest beneficial stockholder. In August 2006, Peizer founded and served as Chairman of the Board of Xcorporeal,Inc., a developer of wearable artificial kidneys, where he presided over the licensing of substantially all of the companies technology to the Dialysis Industry’s dominant services provider Fresenius Medical Care for a substantial up front payment and ongoing licensing royalties. Many of these companies, including Cray, Catasys, and Xcorporeal became public companies during Peizer’s tenure.
Peizer’s investment philosophy was taking shape during these years, which according to Peizer, was to “Invest in situations where you tip the playing field in your favor and Invest in companies with low market caps but with the ability to change the way its industry does things.” Peizer applied his financial acumen and structuring expertise to minimize his investment at risk, but allow for exponential returns. This philosophy has served Peizer well, and it also points to his founding of Hythiam and Xcorporeal. Peizer has often stated his hopes that the two companies will change the addiction treatment and kidney dialysis industries, respectively.