Vaso Active Pharmaceuticals
, the high-flying technology outfit that claims to have a revolutionary treatment for athlete's foot, is also an innovator in the field of investor relations.
The Danvers, Mass., company abruptly ended its first conference call with investors Friday without allowing time for questions. The call stopped after Chief Executive John Masiz read a statement predicting the company's annual sales will climb from $53,000 in 2003 to a "run rate" of $12 million next year.
An operator for the company hosting the conference call said Vaso Active, at the last minute, decided not to take any questions. The operator said hosting a conference call without fielding questions from investors or analysts is rare.
No major brokerage analysts currently cover Vaso Active, which went public last December. But sources said at least 100 people were listening to the conference call. One investor said he was ''stunned'' by the company's refusal to field questions.
"Out of the many calls I've listened to, I've never seen a situation in which a company reads a prepared statement and hangs up,'' said Mark Czarkowski, who is shorting shares of Vaso Active and betting the stock will fall.
A spokesman for Vaso Active was unavailable for comment.
The hang-up is all the more ironic considering Vaso Active's shares soared 28% to $8.05 on Thursday, apparently on optimism about what would be said. But following the call, the stock was trading down 41 cents, or 5%, to $7.64.
Even with Friday's declines, Vaso Active remains a hot commodity since its December initial public offering. The stock is up 272%, after accounting for a 3-for-1 stock split earlier this month.
Vaso Active, meanwhile, has stirred up a lot of controversy. The money-losing company with just seven employees has had to fend off questions about an endorsement for its athlete's foot lotion Termin8 and the authorship of a six-year-old clinical study of the foot lotion.
In an earlier regulatory filing, Vaso Active revealed it has fielded a number of "telephonic inquiries" from the
Securities and Exchange Commission
Nasdaq Stock Market
about those controversies and other issues, including the level of trading in its shares. In Friday's conference call, the company said it has not received any other inquiries from regulators.
The company said it expects sales to soar next year because of a number of "strategic'' deals it has reached to market Termin8 and other lotions that use its "revolutionary'' transdermal delivery system.