3. Tardy TardugnoCongratulations, Michael Tardugno. You may be the best Tuesday-morning quarterback the Dumbest Lab has ever encountered. Or perhaps the worst if you are a Celsion ( CLSN) creditor demanding his or her money back. Celsion's CEO unexpectedly announced Tuesday that a "post analysis" of its failed phase III study of its liver cancer therapy revealed that its ThermoDox treatment did shrink liver tumors in a subgroup of patients who underwent radio-frequency ablation for at least 45 minutes. The revelation arrives barely three months after Tardugno told investors, straight up, that data from the Thermodox phase III study weren't close to being strong enough to support approval filings in the U.S. or Europe. Shares of Celsion spiked 20% to 91 cents on Tuesday's stunning reversal. In late January, the stock plummeted over 80% and was left for dead after Tardugno publicly admitted he was throwing in the towel on ThermoDox. So what happened between then and now to change Mike's mind?
Sadly, a whole lot of data mining and not much more. Well, actually there is a little bit more. But to find it you need to dig into Celsion's financials and Tardugno's pockets instead of the useless, picked over ThermoDox data. As TheStreet's biotech ax Adam Feuerstein alertly points out, Celsion has $46 million dollars left to spend, and won't be able to raise new money, so it appears as if Tardugno is keeping the company afloat merely to keep his own paycheck flowing. Furthermore, Tardugno and his fellow execs will be able to keep more of the loot for themselves because the company is firing one-third of its workforce, ostensibly to reduce overhead.
"We are reducing expenses in all areas, but we are doing this with an eye toward limiting the impact on our future development programs for ThermoDox as well as afford us the opportunity to identify and develop new product candidates," stated Tardugno. Too late, Tardugno. It's time to give up the ghost. And while you're at it, give your creditors their money back too. It is theirs, you know.