GSK) and Pfizer ( PFE), as well as a host of other smaller companies like OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, Boston Biomedical and Stemline Therapeutics. Investors should also be warned that cancer stem cells have been at the heart of lots of controversy as to whether they are just are theory or real. Studies in 2009 questioned whether cancer stem cells even existed. Verastem's co-founders Robert Weinberg, Eric Lander and Piyush Gupta believe they have made discoveries that unlock the transformation of a typical cancer sell to a more aggressive and drug-resistant cancer stem cell. But investors also need to be aware that Verastem's CEO is Christoph Westphal, who sold a previous biotech company Sirtris to GlaxoSmithKline in 2008 for $720 million. The research from Sirtris has been into question following the acquisition with claims surfacing that Glaxo was bamboozled and sold worthless research. This is a high-risk offering that gives new investors little hard proof, a tarnished executive with unproven science. In the company's own words, "Our approach to the discovery and development of product candidates that target CSCs is unproven, and we do not know whether we will be able to develop any products of commercial value." Verastem goes on to say, "We may never succeed in these activities and, even if we do, may never generate revenues that are significant or large enough to achieve profitability. If we do achieve profitability, we may not be able to sustain or increase profitability on a quarterly or annual basis." However, you look at it, the company is still a long ways and a lot of money away from being anything but a gamble. -- Written by Debra Borchardt in New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Debra Borchardt.
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