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

Galena CEO, Seeking Alpha and the Art of the Interview Dodge

By: Adam Feuerstein | 02/04/14 - 02:47 PM EST

When amateur fanboy investors interview CEOs, the questions are lobbed softballs and the responses easily deflect away from the real issues.

Case in point: The "gee whiz" interview of Galena Biopharma (GALE) CEO Mark Ahn conducted by "Regarded Solutions" and posted on Seeking Alpha this afternoon. Hagiography is probably a better term to describe whatever took place between the pseudonymous author and Ahn, who slipped into CEO bullshit mode without breaking a sweat.

Let's take a closer look at some of Ahn's most blatant sidesteps.

Regarded Solutions: Hi Mark, thanks for taking time to do this interview and responding to as many questions that you can. All any investor can ever hope for is the truth and the facts and hopefully you can shed some light on issues that I feel need to be addressed. With that, let's get right to my questions: There has been a lot made of the recent insider selling of options, realizing that you can only speak for yourself can you shed some light on why you chose to sell your options?

Ahn: Of course Alan, I've been a board member since 2007 and CEO since 2011, and invested my own money in the company at inception and have purchased shares along the way. We've grown the company from $20 to $500 million market cap. I sold less than 20% of my equity position to diversify for my family. I'm contracted as the CEO and fully committed to the company's success and building significant further value for all shareholders.


Oh yes, the old "diversification" excuse. Isn't it amazing how insiders almost always "diversify" out of their options and free shares at the top, just as the stock starts to roll over? Excellent timing, Ahn! 
Regarded Solutions: Let me ask this, after the Seeking Alpha article came out, there were several other articles and blogs written about the marketing of the drug Abstral. The "free" giveaway and specifically Bronte Capital calling Galena "hitting a new low in the pharma business". Can you give us a clear picture of the marketing of Abstral?

Ahn: Absolutely, as an oncology focused company, Galena Biopharma's first priority is patients. Abstral is approved for cancer patients suffering from breakthrough pain. Breakthrough cancer pain is an often debilitating condition caused directly from a patient's cancer, or from their treatment to fight the disease. Breakthrough cancer pain significantly impacts a patient's quality of life, both physically and emotionally. Abstral is an important treatment option to provide supportive care for these patients to help them go about their daily lives. Abstral is only available through a prescription from a physician.

The diversity of insurance carriers in the United States requires very specific systems to be followed in order for patients to receive coverage for their prescribed medications. As a result, Galena has established a Patient Assistance Program to help patients who need financial assistance to receive their medication. This effort is consistent with our research-led, patient-focused strategy, to ensure everyone who can benefit from Abstral, receives the therapy for their condition.

The Company remains dedicated to our mission of developing and commercializing innovative, targeted treatments that address major unmet medical needs to advance cancer care. Galena's corporate strategy is to build a full-scale commercial organization led by Abstral, with three additional products in the pipeline in five ongoing or planned clinical trials.


Awesome dodge, Ahn! The key issues are the appropriateness and magnitude of the Abstral giveaways, which Ahn doesn't address. We all know cancer patients suffer from pain, which is why there are a half-dozen or more fentanyl-based products already on the market in addition to Abstral. Galena may try to goose its market share by giving away as much Abstral to doctors as it can, but freebie fentanyl won't last for long. At some point, Galena's "Patient Assistance Program" will run smack into the company's inability to pay for it. Free Abstral doesn't generate sales. And despite Galena's claims, Abstral is no better than any of the other fentanyl-based products, many of which are cheaper. 

For anyone interested, here's a more truthful picture of Abstral relative to its competitors.





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.

To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.

Markets

DOW 17,086.63 -26.91 -0.16%
S&P 500 1,987.01 +3.48 0.18%
NASDAQ 4,473.6970 +17.6810 0.40%

Adam's Tweets

Brokerage Partners

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
Real Money Pro

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Trifecta Stocks

Trifecta Stocks analyzes over 4,000 equities weekly to find the elite 1% of stocks that pass rigorous quantitative, fundamental and technical tests.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Trade alerts
  • Recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
Stocks Under $10

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

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
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
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Dividend Stock Advisor

Jim Cramer's protege, 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
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Breakout Stocks

Bryan Ashenberg, using sophisticated stock screening and fundamental research, identifies potentially explosive small and mid-cap stocks.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Small-cap and mid-cap focus
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs