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Biotech Stock Mailbag: HEB's Artful Dodging

The Biotech Stock Mailbag is open.

Erik D.M. writes, "Hey mister journalist, still feeling the same about Hemispherx Biopharma (HEB) as you did a couple of days ago? I don't see you writing anything negative anymore, or did you buy them yourself, too?"

Nope, I still feel the same way about Ampligen -- a long shot for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval as a treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome.

I assume Erik is taunting me because Hemispherx's stock price is higher today than it was when I wrote my column on May 28. Well, Hemispherx's CEO William Carter has helped his cause by hooking up with some online penny-stock promoters who've been flogging the stock incessantly.

The company has also fed the maws of risk-hungry retail investors by issuing a couple of hyper-promotional (but largely content-free) press releases related to Ampligen's role to potentially treat avian and swine flu strains.

But so far, nothing from Hemispherx about the pending FDA approval decision on Ampligen. All of Carter's bluster is designed to divert attention away from the real matter at hand, but he can only stall for so long.

And he still hasn't answered any of the questions I posed to him in my last column.

What Carter is doing instead is taking a page from the well-worn playbook I've seen used countless times by companies in trouble with the FDA. In fact, Hemispherx reminds me so much of Biopure (BPUR), the old human blood substitute company. That story ended badly, and so will Hemispherx.

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