BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (
) --An update to Tuesday's
: Two hedge fund managers with short positions in BioCryst told me that they've been covering most, but not all, of their respective positions to take profits from the stock's collapse since mid November.
BioCryst closed Tuesday at $6.70. The last time the stock traded for under $7 was in July, but that time BioCryst was headed higher towards $11. The value of BioCryst stock is down 45% since the middle of November.
H1N1 hype is over and the stock has declined, which warranted covering a meaningful portion of my short position," said one of these hedge fund managers in an instant-message conversation with me Tuesday. He asked for anonymity because his fund's rules do not allow him to speak publicly about his positions.
The current H1N1 flu outbreak is a one-time phenomenon that has already reached its peak, the fund manager said, adding, "It's highly unlikely that BioCryst will receive meaningful orders, given that only a fraction of 2009's purchases have been put to use."
He told me that he's keeping a small short position in BioCryst in place because he believes peramivir is an irrelevant product both commercially and financially.
The second hedge fund manager I spoke with Tuesday, who's also covering part of his short position, echoed these opinions.
Meantime, when I last checked on investment newsletter author and BioCryst uber-bull Michael Murphy, he was
for BioCryst's recent woes.
This week, Murphy is so frustrated with the inability or unwillingness of BioCryst's management to say anything about peramivir that he's decided to issue his own press releases on behalf of the company (unauthorized, natch.)
Murphy is angry that BioCryst has not publicized small shipments of peramivir to countries like Mexico, Israel and South Korea.
"My idea is to simply put these
press releases out in English through PRwire so the stories get indexed in Google and on Yahoo. I would not comment or hype the situation, but simply make the news available. I was thinking of doing one a day," said Murphy in a recent posting to subscribers on his web site.
Murphy told his newsletter subscribers that he still thinks BioCryst is worth $50 a share after peramivir is approved in the U.S. and that he expects flu activity to worsen again worldwide.
"If governments don't care about their kids dying, as ours seems not to care, maybe BCRX will not get to $30 because the ROW
rest of world orders will be so small. But if WHO
World Health Organization or someone else cares, I still think we see orders and the $30 near-term target, based on revenues," said Murphy in a posting on his web site.
Wednesday morning, Murphy posted a column about BioCryst, peramivir and South Korea on the
web site, so apparently, his one-man promotional campaign has begun.
-- Reported by Adam Feuerstein in Boston
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;
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