This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Biotech Stock Mailbag: Star Scientific

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Star Scientific (CIGX) and claims about a cure for Alzheimer's disease lead off this week's Biotech Stock Mailbag.

Via Twitter, @superduty03 asks, "Why no comment on $CIGX and their compound RCP-006 that has the potential to treat Alzheimer's?"

Star Scientific hasn't revealed much about RCP-006 and published research is scarce. "Compound" is an appropriate way to describe RCP-006 because it is not a drug. Star refers to RCP-006 as a "nutritional supplement." RCP-006, also known as anatabine, is a naturally occurring compound isolated from nicotine.

Best I can tell, most of the excitement around anatabine comes from a Seeking Alpha column written by James Altucher in which he claims that anatabine is a cure for Alzheimer's. Altucher is a smart guy so I think he was being a bit cheeky; he knows full well there is no scientific evidence yet to back up a claim that anatabine cures Alzheimer's. His column, despite the enticing headline, doesn't offer any proof, either. Instead, Altucher says a recent Star Scientific press release announcing the start of a small human trial of anatabine is actually a coded message to investors: Anatabine is an Alzheimer's cure! Altucher is long Star Scientific.

Full disclosure: Altucher and I are former colleagues at TheStreet. During his tenure at TheStreet, we agreed on some biotech stocks, and disagreed on others. Were he still working here, we'd be disagreeing about Star Scientific. Anything is possible, so sure, anatabine might one day be a cure for Alzheimer's, but it's very premature to make such a claim since this nutritional supplement (not even a drug) has not yet been tested in humans, let alone humans with Alzheimer's.

Nicotine is known to increase alertness and concentration in smokers by activating certain receptors or "volume knobs" in the brain that turn up levels of key neuro-transmitters. Anatabine, as a compound found in nicotine, may play a role in this neuro-stimulatory process.

Whether or not a drug that activates neuronal nicotinic receptors, also known as nicotinic acetylcholinase receptors, can have a beneficial effect on diseases like Alzheimer's, depression, Parkinson's, inflammation and others is not known, but research is ongoing. Any investor truly interested in this area of drug research should take a look at Targacept (TRGT), which is developing a very promising late-stage drug against depression in partnership with AstraZeneca (AZN). Targacept's pipeline also includes an Alzheimer's drug.
1 of 7

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
CIGX $0.00 0.00%
CTIC $0.50 0.00%
APRI $0.53 0.00%
ALR $39.00 0.00%
DEPO $17.38 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,773.64 -57.12 -0.32%
S&P 500 2,065.30 -10.51 -0.51%
NASDAQ 4,775.3580 -29.9330 -0.62%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs