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Rodman Rambles: The Biotech Dreck

Penny stock promoters were pushing rumors this past spring that Rexahn was going to sign a big partnership for its depression drug Serdaxin. Of course, no deal happened, and Tuesday, Soni said Rexahn wasn't considering partnerships until Serdaxin was ready for phase III studies. [The company is stuck in phase II purgatory because the previously disclosed Serdaxin data in depression is so poor.]

At one point in his presentation, Soni described Rexahn's cancer drug Archexin as a "first in class" molecule. When asked by an investor to explain exactly what made Archexin "first in class" when many other companies are way ahead developing similar drugs, Soni had no answer. That's typical Rexahn.

Rexahn shares spiked to nearly $4 in April but now trade for around $1.25.


My mood didn't improve when I switched rooms to listen to Oculus Innovative Sciences CEO Hoji Alimi tout the company's growth potential from the sale of the wound cleanser Microcyn, which is really just common diluted bleach (Ph balanced) poured into a bottle with a nice label.

Alimi didn't spend any time during his investor talk discussing the fact that Microycyn's active ingredients are greatly diluted quantities of sodium hypochlorite (0.0036%) -- the same stuff used to keep swimming pools clean -- and hypochlorous acid (0.0025%) -- otherwise known as common household bleach.

What Alimi did do, however, was to once again make dubious and unfounded medical claims about Microcyn's wound-healing properties. At one point, Alimi flashed on the screen a gruesome photo of a gaping diabetic foot wound. The patient was saved from having the foot amputated by treatment with Microcyn, Alimi alleged, even though Oculus has no data nor FDA approval to make such a claim.

Microcyn quarterly sales remain flat over the past two quarters, despite all the efforts by Oculus to push the diluted bleach wound cleanser/disinfectant into the veterinary, over-the-counter, and international markets. Meantime, Oculus' losses and cash burn continue and the stock is trading near its low for year.


By the time of Hemispherx's presentation, I was really cranky and in no mood for more biotech B.S. My outlook didn't improve after I walked into the Hemispherx room and saw that CEO Bill Carter was A.W.O.L; the company instead sent its "dealmaker" Wayne Pambianchi to handle the presentation.

I lasted about five minutes, leaving soon after Pambianchi start to discuss seeking approval for Hemispherx's worn-out-and-tired chronic fatigue syndrome drug Ampligen in Argentina.

Argentina?

I walked out of the room, hoping the wave of nausea would pass before lunch.

--Written by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.



>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Adam Feuerstein.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/adamfeuerstein.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet.com. In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet.com. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.
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