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Biotech Stock Mailbag: Celldex, Hep C Bubble, Al Mann Anger

Gee, they were only off by six gazillion percent.

And check this out: Back in January 1998, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter analyst Paul Brooke, covering Pfizer, wrote a research note in which he forecast 2004 Lipitor sales of $7.4 billion. Actual 2004 Lipitor sales: $10.9 billion! (Huge thanks to Saira Ramasastry of Life Sciences Advisory for sending me this fascinating relic of sell-side history.)

I took a somewhat dim view of the clinical benefit for colon cancer patients derived from the Bayer- Onyx Pharmaceuticals (ONXX) drug regorafenib. Reader Steve W. thinks I'm missing the point:

"On your article regarding regorafenib, a few things you didn't mention that you probably should have to place regorafenib in proper perspective. The six weeks is the median survival, with half of patients doing better and half doing worse, an important point with the investigators already saying the responses were variable, with some patients exceeding survival expectations by more than a year. You also describe three side effects as 'severe,' but when compared to the side effects caused by other approved drugs for colon cancer, they are very similar to those side effects and actually occur in a relatively small percentage of patients. This kind of context is important, and when left out results in your readers getting an inflated sense of risks and a minimized sense of the benefit of this new drug. With nothing new coming out for colon cancer for quite a few years, this is an important advance and FDA should be hurrying to approve it."

Finally, Robin is ticked off about the photo I posted to Twitter last week showing Mannkind (MNKD) CEO Al Mann presenting to an almost-empty room.

"Regarding your stupid Twitter photo on Al Mann at healthcare conference today: 1) there were at least twelve hot shots in the room. You didn't bother to find out who they were, I did. 2) Most people were already needing to leave the conference early; not Al's fault. 3) An 8 am timetable is probably not beneficial to Al Mann after people have been up at fancy dinners and drinking all night the evening before. Most people don't make it to an 8 am conference (hangovers are common). 4) There is something really, really mentally ill (sadistic) about a person who is obsessed with Al Mann, bashing him constantly. If you hate the stock that much, it's already depressed in the price per share, then quit reporting your shabby homework on it. You look unprofessional, worse, you look stupid and ill informed. I think you are paid to SHORT, kind of like a prostitute who has to grovel for cash every day. You just can't make it on your own, like the rest of us professional investors. Why does TheStreet employ a guy who can't do decent homework? YOU ARE A GOOD LAUGH. SEE YA AT APPROVAL WITH MNKD!!!"

--Written by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.

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

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Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. 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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