IMRIS' VISUS Surgical Theatre(VST) is no competition to MRIC's Clear Point System (CPS). While VST allows for intraoperative MRI monitoring, it does not provide real time MRI. To my knowledge there are some 40-50 VST placed worldwide. VST is expensive (1.5-12 Million USD) and consists of a MR transport system, head fixation devices etc. It is dependent upon Siemens MRI and principally allows the MRI to be transported over ceiling fixtures into the operating theatre, where, under strict aseptic conditions, MRI-examinations can be done, while the operation is stopped. This makes sense, since the patient does not have to be removed from the OP. However, this has nothing to do with the placement of electrodes under real time MRI guidance, such as CPS allows to do. CPS comes at a relatively modest price tag of 125000-150000USD (plus consumables).
IMRIS, however, has one product, the Symbils surgical System (SSS) in the pipeline, which MIGHT compete with CPS in the future. SSS is a surgical robot which should be MRI compatible. SSS might have been submitted to FDA clearance, but it is unclear when the rollout will begin. It is also unclear, if SSS will be compatible only within the VST or with Siemens MRI's which would limit their impact. Currently there is one Neuro-Robot on the market, the ROSA robot (by Medtech SAS, a French company), which is not MRI compatible. However, Neurorobots (at least so far) have been good for the placement of multiple electrodes and for the execution of more complex procedures, while their set up is not really worth while for the placement of just one or two electrodes/devices (which is the typical procedure, for which CPS is being used). All in all, there is the possibility that somewhen in the future, SSS might complete with CPS. Still, CPS is already on the market can be used with any MRI (GE, Siemens...) , has a broad installed base is relatively cheap and easy to install an should therefore have a very solid position... regards Dr J
Naah, it's just the biotech sector, which is red hot (some day, soon, this tide will turn).
Where I get my information from?: basic research into science and companies and some "instinct"...
The market looks topsy again, but I'll still throw in two companies to consider:
I bought Bellicum (BLCM, ca 23.8, market ca ca 600 mill USD) after the IPO (and doubled my position recently at about 24). I followed the company when it was still private. Back then, when DNDN was launching Provenge, I thought that BLCM had a superior technology. With their "switch" (a dimerizing agent in-licensed from Ariad) they claim to be able to "switch on" the activity p.ex. of their engineered DRZ (which will spearhead an attack on (prostate) cancer cells). Or they can "switch off" activity of their genetically engineered CAR-T cells, should side effects demand so. As you know, CAR-T cells are the flavor of the season (I owned and wrote about KITE in 2014). In a nutshell, CAR-T cells are genetically modified T cells which can recognize and attack certain (tumor) antigens/cells in a MHC-independent manner und thus elicit a much stronger immune response, especially in the second generation CAR-T cells, where the effector signal is coupled with certain costimulatory protein receptors such as CD28. BLCM has its own CAR-T program and I suggest you take a close look at the company.
Due to the the "new orals" such as ibrutinib or the PI3Kdelta inhibitors and due to the CAR-T hype (which, to some extent, is justified, because of stellar result in some blood cancers) ADC-companies, i.e. Seatlle Genetics (SGEN, ca at 38 USD) or Immunogen (IMGN, Ca 7.5 USD) have brome "pariah" stocks: Some Wall Streeters view them as soooo yesterday (let's call it the "Vertex-effect" in analogy to VRTX, which came out with its "state-of-the-art" Protease inhibitors, just to be rendered obsolete by the even better polymerase inhibitors from GILD). IMGN, looks undervalued at 7.5 with a EV of 550mill, one compound on the market and a deep -albeit early- pipeline. Look out for a jump, p.ex. if their Folate-Receptor-ADC compound shows promise in an early clinical studies... (I bought at ca 7.5)
While the biotech sector is ripe for a break I’ll still discuss two companies
Bellicum (BLCM, currently at 24 USD; mc ca 600mill) is a company I stumbled upon, when it was still private, at the time when Dendreon brought Provenge to the market. I thought, they had a suprerior product-in-waiting and was intrigued by their technology. BLCM claims that due to their “switch” (a dimerizing agent in licensed from Ariad) they can determine at what time the preprogrammed DRZ (acting against Prostate cancer cells) will “become active”. Vice versa, the same technology allows for « switching off » a genetically modified cell (such as as CAR-T cell), should this be needed ( p.ex. side effects). Of course, CAR-T is the big story out there, the flavor of the season, if you want. In a nutshell, CAR-T cells are genetically modified T-cells, which can directly recognize and attack cancer antigens in an MHC-independent manner, thereby eliciting a much stronger response, especially in second generation CAR-T cells, in which signaling is coupled with costimulatory protein receptors, such as CD28. CAR-T trials have produced stellar results in some types of blood cancer, reason for the euphory about this drug class. The usual suspects in this space are Novartis, Juno and Kite (the latest of which I owned in the past and wrote about it last year), and some others. BLCM has its own CAR-T program, and I suggest you to study the company. I for one bought soon after after the IPO at prices similar to now and doubled my position at current levels (ca 24). Might buy more, especially during has a weak biotech period…
Immunogen (IMGN) is one negelcted stock to consider : Everyone hates ADC-Technology (in the eyes of some Wall Streeters it looks soooo yesterday, compared to CAR-T, or to the new orals (ibrutinib, and the PI3Kdelta inhibitors, such as idelalisib). This is the reason why ADC-companies such as Seattle Genetics (SGEN, vcurrently ca 39), has been treading water for some time. You might remember that SGEN was my favourite Biotech in the past, but I sold it quite some time ago. And for the same reason Immunogen (IMGN, currently ca 7.8, MC 650mill, EV 500mill)) has such a low EV, despite having one product on the market (Kadcyla with Roche) and a rather deep pipeline. This negelcted (hated ?) stock will jump, if early phase study results of their ADC-Folate receptor ADC-compound are promising…
PS : remember the Dr John-contrary indicator : when I come out with too many « tips », it’s better to run for the doors, because the next leg down is imminent ☺
...we might be back in the game with ANTH (currently 4.2), but expect the volatility to continue: There has been a change in perception lately (from "near dead" to "full of promise"). This perception can change again in a blip (see today)...; at the end of the day ANTH remains a binary event company and therefore is very speculative....
BTW: I'd like to add again that Fibrogen (FGEN), currently at about 28.5 (market cap 1.6bill) looks very promising to me (at this price: I doubled my position today). Targeting large markets (anemia, fibrotic diseases), promising results so far, charismatic leader.
Karyopharm (KPTI, ca 30 USD, market cap about 1bill), which I mentioned in one of my last post, is another -possible- diamond in rough.
Finally, Neurocrine (NBIX at 41.5, market cap 3.2bill), Tersaro (TSRO, currently at 60, 2.15 mill USD market cap) and, of course Celldex (CLDX, at 30.5, 2.75 bill market cap) should continue to be good investments (unless the biotech sector explodes, which is always a possibility...)
I owned MYGN a couple of years ago (in fact I wrote a couple of times about MYGN and GHDX on this m.b, some 3-4y back, I guess). MYGN indeed IS an interesting company, but I sold the stock because I could not -and still can't- figure out how strong their IP is (patents)...
I did not follow GALE anymore. In the end there was too much doubt about the science and the persons involved....
As to Agilent: This company is a steady grower with Nr 1 or 2 spots in their niches, and not a rocket, of course. They will be acing headwinds due to the strong dollar, but otherwise it is a good long term bet, IMO...
...don't look at the share price per se!
HGSI's buyout was at about 3 Billion net of debt .
At a current share price of 6 USD, ANTH's market cap is about 150 mill. If ANTH were to be taken out at 1/3 of HGSI valuation then we'd have a share Price of about 40USD... but this is pure speculation, Blisblimod might not work after all....
Grill never even mentioned Clear Trace since he came aboard. Quite to the contrary , his talk has always been about concentrating the efforts on the neuro-side (DBS, etc)., which, at this point & with limited resources, is the only way to win...
is it possible that I did not mention Agilent (A)as one of my top long term plays in the beginning of 2015 ? (there was so much fuzz with Yahoo not accepting my posts that I lost oversight....
MDXG (9.5 -- 10.5) is fighting with shorts & stupid class action suits, but, what is more important, the business is firing on all cylinders.
AXDX (18.5 -- 20) is fighting with short sellers as well. Of course AXDX is the ideal candidate for this game, because the company is mum on details of it's technology (understandably so, in view of possible competition of companies like privately held Theranos). I don't care what the previous management team did. I know that the current management team has an excellent track record, tons of experience, is sitting on the boards of successful medtech-companies and has invested more than token money in this company. Therefore I prefer to sit with them rather than with the shorts. I did not sell nor buy recently, because my position is large enough.
MRIC (0.85-- 0.82) is treading water. investors are waiting if the new CEO can pull things off and tend to think that this will not be the case (otherwise the stock would be valued more than the current 70mill). As you know, I believe the opposite, reason why I continued to add at current levels. It is not without risk to put too much weight on the shoulders of one person (new CEO), but I still believe, that he will be able to pick a lots of lowe hanging fruit and will grow the company long term...
Hologic (HOLX 26-- 32: ca 25% gain) did well, because, as anticipated, of improving results under the new CEO. And Coach (COH: 37.5-- 43.5) is slowly coming back in fashion again....(and is now in the green)
What about the first 2 months of the year?
It was plainly wrong to sell PCYC and probably wrong to sell INCY, hoewever I went back into MDVN at about 105 with a moderate position (PCYC, of course was the top performer).
I was right, however about my „biotech basket“. During the past 7 weeks my remaining top biotech holdings (those I mentioned in my 2014/2015 post) performed well: CLDX (18.5-- 25.5: 40% gain), NPSP (33.5-- 45: 35% gain), NBIX (22.5 -- 39: 70% gain), TSRO (38.5-- 53: 35% gain), while SAGE, FGEN, and XLRN gained between 8-15%. Now what about Anthera (ANTH), and to mention another long-term holding, Curis (CRIS). Both have been huge losers (%-wise), but I kept them because their story is not yet told. Both companies had good news and the stock spiked. I more than quadrupled my ANTH position on the way up, adding most of it at 2.3 and 2.9, but recently again at 3.9 (now 5). A nice example how to transform a looser into a 40% winner. Let's see what the future brings. I liked the news of Curis adding a cancer immuno-portfolio, but waited one day too long, before adding (it spiked 15% on the second day of the news). Still I doubled my position at 1.9 (now 3).
Another stock I like and bought is Karyopharm (KPTI 27.7, mc 890m, 220 mill cash), a cancer biotech company, with a intriguing pipeline. In a nutshell: many cancer cells have unregulated nuclear export proteins (XPO), which, amongst other things export tumor suppressors, thereby "driving down" tumor suppression (by BRAC etc) . KPTI's compounds blocks these unregulated XPO thereby restoring the "normal concentration" of tumor suppressor genes/gene products in the cancer cell. Results have been somewhat mixed so far, but I remain positive.Due to its mechanism, side effects seem to be rather mild. Interestingly, this approach might also work for autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (especially in its progressive form), even though there are only preclinical evidence for that. -- cont
see bleow: This Kind of therapeutic tirals is made for the use of MRIC's Technology...
Voyager Therapeutics Inc. (Cambridge, Mass.) and the Genzyme Corp. unit of Sanofi (Euronext:SAN; NYSE:SNY) partnered to develop and commercialize Voyager's gene therapies for CNS diseases.
The deal gives Genzyme options to license ex-U.S. rights to three therapies after a human proof-of-concept trial is complete for each: VY-AADC01 to treat Parkinson's disease (PD), VY-FXN01 to treat Friedreich's ataxia (FRDA) and VY-HTT01 for Huntington's disease (HD). Genzyme also has an option to co-commercialize VY-HTT01 in the U.S.
Genzyme will pay Voyager $100 million up front, including $65 million in cash, $30 in an equity investment and $5 million of in-kind contributions. Voyager is eligible for $745 million in development and sales milestones, plus tiered royalties, and will conduct R&D for all three programs.
Voyager expects results this year from a Phase Ib trial of VY-AADC01 to treat PD. The therapy consists of an adeno-associated virus (AAV) serotype 2 encoding the dopa decarboxylase (DDC; AADC) gene injected into the putamen (see BioCentury, Feb. 17, 2014).
In about two years, Voyager expects to start clinical trials of VY-FXN01 and VY-HTT01. VY-FXN01 is an AAV-based gene therapy designed to deliver the frataxin (FXN; FRDA) gene. VY-HTT01, also an AAV-based therapy, is designed to knock down expression of Huntingtin (HTT) protein. Back to top
closer, we discussed ALQA about 1 year ago, then I wrote:
An afterthought to ALQA: Concentrating my bets on MDXG, I might have spoken my previous post of ALQA as if I would not consider it to be interesting investment idea. Quite to the contrary, ALQA is very promising. MDXG has the lead, and I do not know if ALQA decellularized matrix will be better (less inflammation etc) than Epifix, specially given the 90% success rate with Epifix. However, ALQA's market cap is about 1/10th that of MDXG which, of course gives it ample room to grow. I do have a decent position in ALQA, but much more MDXG. What I like in both companies is that they have proven managers (seen this done that). The market is large enough for both...."
This is still my opinion. Back in 2014 (after the above post)I reduced my position in ALQA by 3/4 (which was agood Thing, because the stock performance was poor), but about 1 month ago I increaset it again at ca 5 USD. I agree that ALQA's mangement and the Celgene collaboration are nothing to sneer at....