67 WALL STREET, New York - December 12, 2013 - The Wall Street Transcript has just published its Top Ten Portfolio Manager Interviews of 2013 Report. This special feature contains expert industry commentary through in-depth interviews with highly experienced Money Managers. The full issue is available by calling (212) 952-7433 or via The Wall Street Transcript Online.
Topics covered: Top Ten Portfolio Manager Interviews of 2013
Companies include: Biotech Winners
In the following excerpt from the Top Ten Portfolio Manager Interviews of 2013 Report, an expert portfolio manager discusses his methodology for finding top returns for investors:
TWST: Would you tell us about some of your favorite stocks right now? Tell us a little bit about what you like about them and how they meet your investment criteria.
Dr. Kuruvilla: I can mention a couple of ideas, some of which are becoming more well-known, some of which are still obscure. I'll start with one that is, I would say, moderate in terms of awareness. We've owned it for almost a year, since last summer, but I still don't think the market has properly valued it. It's Sarepta (SRPT), which we still own. It became well-known last year, because it had one of these massive moves up; something like 300% to 400%, maybe more. It's a company that is developing therapeutics for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, or DMD. DMD is a catastrophic disease. It's an X-linked disease that afflicts males. They tend to die in their 20s or so, a very steady, debilitating, progressive weakness in the limbs as well as the diaphragm that leads to typical respiratory failure and pneumonia and death.
One of the things that's really interesting about this company that I don't think the market has fully digested is the fact that the way they treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy is by manufacturing a particular type of oligonucleotide that has an unusual morpholino backbone, and these morpholinos have thus far been remarkably safe and they're known to penetrate into cells, and particularly cells that have a leaky membrane, which is exactly the type of cell that a DMD patient suffers from. DMD patients have a mutation in a gene called dystrophin, and their muscle cells tend to rupture and lyse. They have these leaky muscle cells throughout their periphery, and these morpholinos can go into the muscle cells and they induce, without getting too technical, an exon-skipping approach that essentially leads to a slightly repaired, sometimes fully repaired, version of dystrophin.
That enables the patient to be able to make normal dystrophin like you and I have, unlike what they've had before. It's nearly science fiction; real mind-blowing technology, that you can give an I.V. injection of this morpholino oligonucleotide and have the patient's muscle cells uptake this oligo and then begin to produce a normal dystrophin again, or at least a closer-to-normal dystrophin.
The reason why this is so interesting is that they've shown already in a handful of DMD patients quite dramatic effects. I can remember reading in a small town newspaper article in Vermont about a boy in this clinical trial, and what gave it away for me was the boy's father reported that in an airport his son was able to open a milk carton by himself. The boy had already lost that function to be able to open things like a milk carton. In DMD, loss of function is progressive, you don't get it back. Well, here they were, these parents reporting that this boy suddenly could do something that he couldn't do before. A reasonable inference is that this is an efficacious therapy...
For more of this interview and many others visit the Wall Street Transcript - a unique service for investors and industry researchers - providing fresh commentary and insight through verbatim interviews with CEOs, portfolio managers and research analysts. This special issue is available by calling (212) 952-7433 or via The Wall Street Transcript Online.
- Duchenne muscular dystrophy