5. Coronado's Collapse
You know the old Wall Street adage, right? Bulls make money, bears make money and biotechs selling pig parasite eggs get slaughtered.
OK, OK. Maybe that's not the exact phrasing, but it certainly comes pretty close to describing what happened to
stock this week.
Shares of Coronado tumbled 67% to $1.91 Monday after the company announced that its experimental Crohn's Disease treatment failed an important Phase II study. Coronado's drug, which is referred to as CNDO-21, contains the live eggs of a parasite found in the excrement of pigs (also known as
Trichuris suis ova
, or TSO). When swallowed, the eggs hatch and grow into tiny whipworms which were intended to stimulate a human's immune system and fight off inflammatory auto-immune diseases like Crohn's.
Yes, it's absolutely disgusting to even think about let alone ingest. Nevertheless, you know what they also say: Any pig parasite egg in a storm.
That is, if only Coronado's drug provided shelter from it, which, unfortunately, it doesn't, despite the company's best attempt to spin the sorry results in its favor.
"These results support the potential of TSO to regulate the immune system in patients with Crohn's disease, particularly those with higher level of disease severity," said Coronado CEO Dr. Harlan Weisman. "We look forward to further analyzing the data from TRUST-I, along with the anticipated data from Dr. Falk Pharma's TRUST-II study in Crohn's disease, to identify the most appropriate development path for TSO."
Mixed, mangled and entirely un-kosher metaphors aside, Crohn's symptoms of patients treated with CNDO-021 failed to respond any better than patients treated with a placebo. And as
biotech ax Adam Feuerstein alertly points out, blaming negative study results on a higher-than-expected placebo response is typically the "lame excuse" offered when a drug simply doesn't work.
Look. Weisman understands better than anybody the unenviable position he was put in. He's no dummy. However, he still had to offer his disappointed investors some kind of hope even though his so-called "path for TSO" now looks like a dead end.
What else could he do while standing up there with pig parasite egg on his face?