Roger J. emails a question about my FDA Drug Approval Contest: "I have heard that an investor who bets against approval on any new drug is likely to be successful. Hence it would be helpful to know how many yes/no votes the referenced contestants cast to compile their records, and what record I would have had by voting no on every drug in the contest." I don't understand the first part of the question but to address the latter: Seven drugs featured in the contest have received FDA approval; five have been rejected and a single decision ( Vivus' ( VVUS) Qnexa) has been delayed. Simply betting "no" across the board is not a winning strategy. I'm all for skepticism when warranted, but FDA does approve drugs.
BuggyFunBuggy (a frequent commenter) asks, "Perhaps a Mailbag update on Agenus ( AGEN). It's been a while since your prediction that "Oncophage doesn't work," and it seems that Prophage is just a new name. Has Agenus any brighter future?" Agenus' cancer vaccine platform is old news. The Russian approval of the Oncophage for kidney cancer yielded meaningless sales and I haven't heard a peep from Agenus executives about trying to seek approval in Europe or the U.S. (Failed clinical trials have a way of making approvals a tad more challenging.)