BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- The more I dig into Generex Biotechnology (GNBT) and its insulin spray for diabetics, the more preposterous the story becomes.
I wasn't planning to spend a lot of time writing about this penny stock after last week's
Biotech Stock Mailbag
, but then the angry emails and comments came flooding in. On Tuesday, Generex issued a press release demanding I retract my "false and misleading" article. At the same time, I received a punchy letter from Generex CEO Anna Gluskin, via her attorney, in which she called me "malicious."
The Hostile React-o-Meter went to 11!
For a veteran reporter and columnist like myself who enjoys nothing more than exposing the modern day snake oil salesmen of the biotech age, Generex's all-bluster-no-bite protestations are a huge red flag.
As I burrow into
, it becomes apparent almost immediately that the company is using science and the quest to develop an alternative insulin delivery method not to actually help diabetics but as a ruse to perpetuate a 15 year-long stock promotion scheme. In the process, investors are getting fleeced while Generex management earns millions of dollars in compensation. [Gluskin was paid $1.15 million in total compensation for the company's 2008 fiscal year.]
I spoke with Gluskin briefly on Wednesday to ask her about Generex and Oral-lyn but she didn't want to comment without her lawyer on the phone. I agreed but they never called me back.
In a comment posted to last week's Mailbag, RJS9787 wrote, "Interesting take on Generex, Adam. Your two premises are completely false. First there have been numerous peer reviews for Oral-lyn dating back to the early part of this decade... In 2010, the two main independent researchers studying Oral-lyn, Dr. P. Raskin and Dr. P. Pozzilli, published the latest update for Oral-lyn's clinical development and this appeared in the peer-reviewed journal
Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.
All of the studies concluded by showing zero serious adverse effects attributed to Oral-lyn and that buccal spray insulin is non inferior, and often superior, to regular injectable insulin."
The February 2010 review article on Oral-lyn authored by Raskin and Pozzilli titled "Review of Clinical Trials: Update on Oral Insulin Spray Formulation" is helpful, but not in the way that RJS contends. Far from vindicating Oral-lyn, the article actually demonstrates quite clearly the lack of any credible clinical data to support the insulin spray's efficacy or safety.