Via Twitter, @Superduty03 asks, "Are you ever an optimist?" The simple answer is "not very often." You need to understand that I'm a journalist, which means skepticism, even cynicism, is an integral part of my DNA. I see the glass half empty. I question everything and everyone, especially biotech executives. My motto: Mistrust AND Verify. Biotech investors are generally well served by skepticism. We all know the high failure rate in the sector and the hyperbole tossed around about LIFE-SAVING MEDICAL ADVANCES that usually accompanies even the most mundane announcements. Ask anyone who knows me personally and they'll tell you that I'm a cheerful, happy and outgoing guy. When it comes to my professional life writing about biotech stocks, however, I set a very high bar for optimism and cheerfulness. In biotech investing, optimism is usually a good way to lose money.
Again via Twitter, @granbebe1 asks, "Mannkind (MNKD), any news?" Not a lot of news on Mannkind but tons of speculation and stock volatility as we get closer to the Dec. 29 FDA approval decision date for the company's inhaled insulin delivery device Afrezza. Mannkind was trading for $6-plus around Thanksgiving but was up to $8.50 intraday Thursday. Wednesday was a particularly volatile day, with the stock trading as high as $9.23 and as low as $7.31. On Wednesday, Mannkind founder Al Mann disclosed via an SEC filing that he purchased another 700,000 shares of the company, which a lot of investors interpreted as a sign of confidence so close to the FDA approval decision for Afrezza. That's not entirely true, however. Mann's 700,000-share purchase was required under an equity financing agreement signed in August with an outfit known as Seaside 88. Mannkind has been selling discounted stock to Seaside 88 as a way to raise cash. Under the agreement, whenever Seaside buys and resells Mannkind shares, Mann has to buy an equal amount of Mannkind stock.
My 15 Biotech Stock Predictions for 2011 column provoked some typical yet comedic responses from fans and foes alike, some of who had their own 2011 predictions. Steveh800 predicts, "A.F. continues to be paid by Wall Street Hedge Funds to bash the stocks in their favor." Matt writes, "Adam doesn't get a Christmas card from Anna Gluskin (again), but Jim Bianco sends him a lump of coal." Adamsfriend says, "Adam will be seen making out with Jerry Springer in 2011." Ruggerschr is angry. "Adam, you are so obviously a schill working for Cramer and his Hedge fund cronies. At least when you go to prison for your dastardly deeds, you will have lots of practice being other people's