Biotech-Stock Mailbag: Genentech
Between January 2005 and December 2006, I worked as a biotech analyst for an investment management firm. (Not a hedge fund, technically, but close enough.) During my tenure there, my portfolio manager did short Introgen based on my recommendation. I liked Introgen as a short for all the same reasons that I've outlined numerous times since coming back to work for TheStreet.com in January 2007.
And let's not forget that I was writing negatively about Introgen during my first gig at TheStreet.com, before I went to work for the investment firm. It's why I recommended to my portfolio manager that we short the stock.
Best of all, the Introgen short position made the firm money.
Those days are over, however. I am no longer paid by, nor do I have any financial interest in, the investment firm where I previously worked. As a current full-time employee of TheStreet.com, I don't own or short any individual stocks nor do I invest in hedge funds or any other investment partnerships. (You can read TheStreet.com's conflict of interest policy here.) Simply put, I have no financial interest in Introgen whatsoever.The goal with regards to my Introgen reporting is not to "drive down the stock price" as the company claims, but to get at the truth about Advexin and the ways in which Introgen has systematically misled investors for all of these years. By doing so, investors can avoid losing money in bad biotech stocks, or even make some money if shorting is their game. In this regard, I've done a pretty good job. Oh, one more thing. If the SEC is interested in my work on Introgen, I can assure you that it will be Introgen's CEO David Nance and his gang, not me, who will be the investigative targets. There's enough fodder in the company's transcripts and SEC filings to keep an SEC enforcement officer in business for quite some time.
On an ending note, Biovest International (BVTI) and Accentia Biopharmaceuticals (ABPI) reported this week that their cancer vaccine BiovaxID produced a statistically significant improvement in disease-free survival in patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, or NHL, according to results from a phase III study. Where Genitope (GTOP) and Favrille (FVRL) failed with their respective NHL vaccines, Biovest and Accentia claim success, and as a result, a filing for Food and Drug Administration approval will be coming shortly. The news prompted some email, including one from Phil R., who writes, "Looks like we have a winner!" Sorry to burst the bubble, but I don't think so. My friend and fellow biotech commentator David Miller of Biotech Stock Monthly has dug into the BiovaxID data and finds it seriously lacking. "The deeper I look at the data, the worse it gets," he told me over Instant Messenger Wednesday. You can read some of his thoughts here so no sense in me being repetitious. I believe Miller has this one nailed.
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