3 criteria for a home run
1. one of a kind product(s) with enormous market
2. No visible competition
3. relatively small float or market cap.
You don't find all of these together very often. The half a billion shares isn't cooperating, though the market cap is still low.
They are actually playing it very smartly, commercializing the one strain to get cash flows for the super products that will follow.
From the cc its just as I said earlier, the silkworms are proprietary and pass down the traits, so if any one person gets just one silkworm, its like getting a 100 dollar plate from the U.S. Mint-though any copy product will have identifiable dna-so its best they keep tight controls.
"They are actually playing it very smartly, commercializing the one strain to get cash flows for the super products that will follow."
Thought that was an illuminating comment from a while back.
I had expected that SIAL would want KBLB to announce successful insertions using the Zinc finges as soon as they were tested. My thinking was that this news was very important to SIAL as the KBLB deal is SIAL's "poster child" for its new custom zinc fingers service (so important that it has highlighted it at every presentation since, and the SIAL/KBLB deal announcement is still one of four news items on SIAL's home page over two months later (and I predict it will remain there until the results are announced.)
However that didn't happen. There are two possible explanations.
The most likely is that KBLB may prefer to wait until the silk has been tested (to see whether it is, as expected pure spider) (It would 99.999% be, because the Genetic modifications are for the purpose of remove the worm silk protein genes to prevent worm silk protein from being mixed in with the spider silk. With the worm silk protein genes removed it would be physiologically impossible for there to be an worm silk protein in the silk. There are other things that could go wrong, but, given that the worms have already produced a mixture of spider and worm silk, it is exceedingly likely that the result of the GMs will be the production of pure spider silk. For very technical reasons it may be not quite the quality of pure spider silk but should be very close to it, close enough to meet market demand for pure spider silk until a bit of genetic modification works out any bugs.
And SIAL may feel that the news of the success of the GM's would have a lot more impact if combined with news that the spiders had, as a result, produced pure spider silk. (What that would mean, for SIAL is that their new Genetic Modification tool had “rescued” a product by fixing something that a competing technology (the piggyBac transposon) had been unable to solve. The announcement of just the succes of the GMs (before the analysis of the silk) wouldn't have nearly the public impact because the public doesn't understand genetic modication tools and their limitations all that well. But worms producing spider silk would be certain to garner front page news. That's all just a guess of course. CEOs don't always see things like we think they do.
Another possibility: Inherent in zinc finger technology is that in a small percentage of cases, the zinc fingers don't work the first try. Each zinc finger selects for a specific nucleotide (the “letters of DNA: A,C,T and G), the zinc fingers are used in pairs of sets of about 18 zinc fingers each (one set for each strand of the double stranded DNA). There are many zinc fingers that will select for each nucleotide, which is fortunate because many zinc fingers don't work well together. That's what makes it so difficult to assemble a set of 18 that will work. SGMO (the company SIAL licenses the ZF tech from)figure out an algorithm to do that and most of the time it works but occasionally the set selected won't work. It's usually readily solved by “tweaking” the ZFs by changing out the zinc fingers at the point where the proper nucleotide wasn't selected. So it's just a few weeks delay if that's the case.
Bottom line: at this point it's all speculation but a delay in news would be far more likely to the due either to SIAL and/or KBLB wanting to wait until the sillk is tested or to a need to “tweak” the zinc fingers, than to a major problem.
It is inherent in the nature of research that the timing of events is tentative at best and rarely works out to be just what we expected.
IMHO KBLB has an unassailable IP position. They have exclusive rights to 200 spider genes involved in silk production. They have exclusive rights to the use of the piggyBac transposon and of zinc fingers for use in modifying silkworms to produce spider silk.
There are probably other spider genes involve in silk production but are likely minor (which would be why they haven't yet been discovered) and unlikely to be able to do the whole job themselves without any of the 200 KBLB already owns. In any case there wouldn't be any way to get them into silkworms without the piggyBac or zinc fingers. All other methods of genetic modification are vastly inferior: random, highly inefficient and very low probability of success. So anyone with a new spider gene for silk production would have little choice but to sell it to KBLB. Who else could use it?
NOTE: ND and UW have reserved some uses (sports and medical) for the spider genes they sold to KBLB. (That was probably done as insurance so they'd have something left to sell if KBLB failed). As they have no way to get them into silkworms they will have no choice but to sell them to KBLB (which is probably what they intended to do all along if KBLB succeeded and they therefore did not need the "insurance") (ND owns the piggyBac but even it could not do the whole job because it's incapable of removing worm silk protein genes. That is why KBLB had to get the zinc fingers from SIAL. The piggyBac was inherently incapable of removing the worm silk protein genes because it is also random. That's why the Gen1 (Monster Silk) has worm silk protein mixed in with the spider silk protein). Only zinc fingers are exact (like editing a document with a word processor!)
BOTTOM LINE: KBLB with have full control of the silkworm as a production platform for spider silk and enhanced spider silks (Gen3, already in the planning stage).
I would be interested to know how you can figure an "enormous market", when there isn't even a product on the market, nor has their been any proven uses. So far, it's all speculation. Speculation that might end up panning out, but right now, it's still speculation. Not many institutional investors are going to be pumping millions of dollars into a product that isn't on the market, and has not been tested in any application.
And when Kim Thompson refers to competition on the conference call, how do you know he is the only source for the future product?
Oh wait, I forgot, folks here are not interested in the truth.