“Minting Millions from the Magic Molecule” (Nick Hodge)

Checking out a recent teaser for Hodge's Early Advantage and the Outside Club

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“How to get this $35,000/gram miracle cure for just $0.65” — that’s the subject line of the latest teaser ad we’re reviewing … how can you resist?

The folks at Angel Publishing appear to be spinning off some of their newsletters, with Nick Hodge headlining, into a new little entity called the Outsider Club — which, as far as I can tell, is just another of the dozens of interrelated newsletter brands that have been built by Agora-affiliated publishers over the years. Some of them catch on and build big mailing lists, some of them quietly disappear.

But this pitch is not really just from this “Outsider Club”, it’s from Nick Hodge’s pricey newsletter called Early Advantage, which has been around for many years at Angel Publishing — it used to be called Alternative Energy Speculator until they realized that particular subsector was losing investor interest a couple years back, and it has called some interesting stocks to our attention, including Westport Innovations about five years ago before they were listed in NY.

So I tend to pay attention to their new picks even though some of the tiny ones end up being crash-and-burn disasters — my readers keep asking about them, and they pick so many tiny stocks that their attentions have a tendency to drive big spikes in the share price. I expect we’ll see the same thing once again here, since this latest teaser pick (which I mentioned a couple weeks ago, but haven’t gotten to looking at closely until now) is even smaller than most.

Of course, such spikes up in price are usually followed by a collapse if the story doesn’t play out as cleanly or as quickly as the ads always seem to imply, but they can at least be fun to watch.

So what’s Hodge’s latest darling stock?

Here’s the teaser pitch:

“… for 5+ years, a team of America’s foremost scientists has been hard at work in a laboratory… working on a Nobel Prize-worthy discovery.

“And it ALL revolves around the giant keyhole limpet… or more simply, the sea snail.

“It’s something you’d ordinarily see in a sci-fi film. But this is very real.

“And if you understand why this sea snail is so crucial — and what these scientists discovered while burning the midnight oil — you’ll be on the fast track to 300x your money profits….

“What was unearthed in a Ventura County lab is something that will alter the way the medical world operates forever…

“Few discoveries in history have had the kind of impact this one will have. It’s simply so game-changing, examples of past scientific developments may be completely pointless.

“We’re treading on truly unheard-of profit territory here.”

Well, we can at least rest assured that the fertile fields of hyperbole are growing nicely in Baltimore, MD — how can you not want to know about “unheard-of profit?”

Even if we know that the reality never matches the hype, there’s still that little part of our brain that says, “what if he’s even just halfway right?”

He compares this advancement to the big antiviral discoveries made by Gilead Sciences (GILD) back in 1992, and shows the dramatic stock move from 50 cents or so up to the low $20s — he doesn’t mention that it took 15+ years of patience and fortitude to enjoy those gains, or how many other companies seemed to have similarly exciting discoveries in 1992 and are now bankrupt, but you get the idea — biotech is one of those areas of the market where huge gains are possible. And even though the fact isn’t hammered into your head everyday the way those potential gains are, you probably area also quite aware that with 1,000%+ return potential you almost always get a heightened risk of 100% losses.

So what is this “Magic Molecule” that’s supposed to make us rich?

Here’s some more from the teaser ad:

“The world-shaking discovery… REVEALED

“For decades now, medical companies around the globe have heavily relied on a compound known as Keyhole Limpet Hemocyanin (referred to as KLH — or what I call the “magic molecule”).

“That’s a fancy name for what essentially amounts to sea snail blood…

“KLH only comes from one place: the giant keyhole limpet, aka the sea snail I showed you a picture of earlier. And this sea snail lives in one very specific part of the world, off the coast of Central California….

“Here’s the key: There are only 100,000 of these creatures left in the wild. Once the KLH has been extracted from them, they die.

“In other words, the hundreds of drugs that rely on KLH — the drugs that assist patients who suffer from cancer to Alzheimer’s to drug addiction — are in grave danger of extinction… along with this specific species of sea snail.

“None of this may seem very exciting, but get this: Because it’s so scarce, the KLH extracted from these sea snails sells for between $35,000 and $900,000 per gram.”

OK, so that’s our little “Magic Molecule” — Keyhole Limpet Hemocyanin. I confess that I had never heard of it before taking a quick look at this story about two weeks ago.

And yes, the Keyhole Limpet was featured in Popular Science as an enabler of a cure for cancer about 18 months ago — an article that is worth a quick read, and that mentions the company that’s farming these mollusks in California to extract their blood.

So is that the same company being teased by Nick Hodge? Let’s quickly check a few more clues:

“Once single company — whose shares currently trade around a mere $0.60 as you read this — is the ONLY company that knows how to extract KLH without killing the sea snail. And they have a patent on it.

“So, not only does no one else know how to do this…

“But this tiny company also has a patent pending for a process in which they raise the sea snails on land.

“That’s what happens when you have the likes of these guys working in your Ventura County laboratory:

  • The board-certified immunologist who, together with his team at UCLA, was the first to discover AIDS in 1980; and
  • the Professor of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry at UC-Santa Barbara — named one of the 50 leading technology pioneers of 2006 by Scientific American.”

So … yep, this is Stellar Biotechnologies, which is listed on the Venture exchange in Canada at KLH and also trades over the counter in the US at ticker SBOTF (with low volume in both places, this is a sub-$40 million stock and $100,000 in money flowing in or out could dramatically impact the stock price).

And yes, Stellar is the leading (and practically the only, they say) company that’s sustainably cultivating Keyhole Limpets on land, in a controlled environment aquaculture farm/lab, and extracting their blood for use in vaccines. Their current capacity is about one kilogram of blood per year, which doesn’t sound like a lot — but apparently the amount required for each dosage of a vaccine must be infinitesimally small.

KLH is really a vaccine conduit, not a curative compound in its own right (there are other mollusks that have been touted as miracule cures, like the anti-bacterial and cancer-fighting properties of some sea snails that have been in the press in recent years) — it’s a large molecule that’s safe for humans but has a strong immune response, here’s how they describe it:

“KLH is an important immune-stimulating protein used in wide-ranging therapeutic and diagnostic markets. Potent, yet proven safe in humans, KLH operates as both a vital component for conjugate vaccines (targeting cancer, autoimmune, and infectious diseases) as well as an antigen for measuring immune status. Stellar Biotechnologies was founded to address the growing demand for renewable, commercial-scale supplies of high-quality, GMP-grade KLH. Stellar has developed leading practices, facilities and proprietary capabilities to address this need.”

So apparently this KLH stuff is a great base for vaccines — it’s part of a tested compound for dozens of clinical trials right now, including at least a few active trials where they have supply agreements with pharmaceutical companies. You can see several presentations here about their business and technology. The Wikipedia page explaining this protein gives a pretty good broad overview here.

And the stock has climbed nicely this year, following their listing on the OTCQB and rising awareness among US speculators and plenty of news releases from the company about their aquaculture achievements and the progress of potential vaccines for cancer and other diseases, along with, of course, this recent attention from Nick Hodge. This isn’t the first time the company has been a stock market darling, that Popular Science article came a year after the surge of excitement that drove the shaers from 20-30 cents to well over a dollar for a few weeks in late 2010-early 2011, but we’re broaching new highs for the year again here in the 70 cent range.

That means Stellar Biotechnologies now has a market cap approaching $40 million — laughable for the kind of potential market they’re talking about, with hoped for royalties and other revenue bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars a year perhaps as soon as 3-5 years from now (that’s from one of their investor presentations), but very large for a company that has negligible revenue and posts losses in most quarters of roughly a million dollars. They’ll also have to raise money by selling stock, I expect, if they haven’t made any big deals with pharmaceutical companies by late this year.

But that’s probably the immediate upside potential, beyond the possibility that they might get exciting news from one of the current KLH vaccine trials that leads to a rapid increase in demand for the molecule — they say they are “actively exploring multiple, current avenues of co-involvement with 7 of the 15 largest biopharma companies.”

And for a $40 million company, a joint venture deal with a larger pharma company can easily provide enough cash to keep them going for quite a while — and spur some increased investor love.

I have no real sense for what the market for this KLH will be in the end — certainly demand could be very high if there are effective vaccines for Lupus, Breast Cancer or Rheumatoid Arthritis that use this molecule, but it’s not clear to me what the physical capacity is or what the pricing would be in that world if higher demand… or whether the mass market demand for this compound would lead to new ways of synthesizing it and therefore sidestepping the limited capacity of Stellar’s mollusk farm. They have managed to get these creatures to reproduce in captivity, so they’re managing multiple generations of them and can increase capacity over time, but I can’t imagine that they can increase capacity all that quickly.

The only folks I saw actively selling and quoting prices for KLH for labs were selling it for about $10/mg, I have absolutely no idea whether their variety is as good as Stellar’s (or maybe it is Stellar’s, I dunno), but at that rate a kilogram, Stellar’s annual capacity, would be worth $10 million. If Hodge is right and this stuff is good enough that it sells for $35,000-900,000/gram, then that means their annual kilogram of KLH production could pull in somewhere between $35 million and $900 million a year in revenue.

So that’s a pretty wide range, potential revenue somewhere between $10 million and $900 million … which doesn’t count any royalties they might get for their proprietary products or from joint ventures if they really proceed with developing their own compounds for clinical study, as they indicate they might.

So far, though, revenue is more like $250,000 over the last four quarters … which means the low end of that estimate would be hugely dramatic growth for Stellar. Of course, whether or not they can ever reach that low-end guess is an open question — it looks really interesting, I can see that they’ve invested a lot (including government grants) to build this sustainable aquaculture and processing capacity, but with science still proceeding and the vaccine trials still pretty early, I can’t even halfway guess what the company should be worth or whether their product will stand out as a crucial component and see increased demand even if prices rise.

But that’s the long-term imagining about Stellar’s future — most likely, the stock will bounce around like a cork as news flows regarding any of their clinical trials or joint venture deals with pharmaceutical companies, so I wouldn’t expect to see the shares trade on some fundamental valuation based on revenue or earnings anytime soon. File this under “speculation” and be prepared for a bumpy ride if you decide to get on board, I expect that Nick Hodge’s attention (and the attention of our merry band here at Gumshoe Nation) will make the stock bouncy even without any fundamental news (average trading volume combined in Canada and the US is not often much more than $100,000, which is very, very light — don’t count on getting out of a position at a reasonable price if you want to sell in a hurry).

If you’d like to hazard a guess as to what the stock is worth, or whether it’s worth a nibble, feel free to use the friendly little comment box below.


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116 Comments on "“Minting Millions from the Magic Molecule” (Nick Hodge)"

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David Brown
Guest
0
August 26, 2013 11:47 am
Thanks for all the useful information Jim–while we don’t always see eye to eye, I appreciate the time and energy you put into all of this. I still don’t appreciate the private offering by the company as I still see it as a sweet deal designed to benefit a small group (jperhaps the reclusive billionaire and a few others?) at the expense of the small investors. However, it looks like I overestimated it’s effect on the dilution of the market price as we are back to all time highs today. While the Big Dogs have an unfair advantage, we little… Read more »
newbie
Irregular
78
September 3, 2013 9:16 pm
Jim, What would you consider a low enough dip right now to add to your position? What do you think SBOTF will do after the presentations on Sept. 9th and mid-October? I’ve done quite a bit of reading and feel somewhere in my gut that, if the stars get into alignment :), this could be big. I’ve worked in healthcare 25 years, and the thought of a vaccine for C-diff. makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up…(not to mention the many other uses). I think KLH is the real deal, and anyone who can provide pharma-grade… Read more »
David Brown
Guest
0
September 4, 2013 12:11 pm

Now is a great time to buy Jana. Stellar is already over 10% of my holdings so I can’t risk more but if I had on the sideline I’d add it now-around $1.25 is an excellent price.

Jim Skelton, The Blind Squirrel
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0
Jim Skelton, The Blind Squirrel
September 4, 2013 8:53 pm
Jana: Welcome to Gumshoetown! You’ve found a great site that offers some specialized investment thoughts. The head honcho, Travis, unravels the mysteries of all these “Teaser” ads put out by newsletter publishers whose main aim is to get you to subscribe to their service and THEN tell you what they are talking about – sometimes useful, sometimes not. Travis does the unravelling for us and saves the bucks. Then there is Myron Martin, an absolute wizard at finding, following, and sometimes picking companies you’d probably NEVER discovefr on your own. In particular foreign-based mining companies, many trading under $1.00. His… Read more »
tanglewood
Irregular
170
November 4, 2013 3:01 pm

Jim, The symbol is SBOTF, Maybe you’ve been typing SOB too much!

Rick Robbins
Guest
0
Rick Robbins
September 15, 2013 1:23 pm

You are what you put into yourself. Doesn’t take rocket science to figure out why so many people are sick. Get back to the basics of organic fruits and vegetables, buy a juicer and start juicing. A healthy liver is a healthy body. I don’t need a doctor and I don’t need medicine. End of story.

Myron Martin
Author
208
September 15, 2013 9:28 pm
Short and to the point Rick, but most people simply “will not :get it” because they are too addicted to their junk foods. Everything you put into your mouth, whether drink or solid food, either builds health or it builds dis-ease, it really is that simple. Good health comes from good habits, it does NOT come from bottles or packaged pills filled with chemicals that interfere with the bodies natural defences against disease. If you can find a copy in a used book store, probably the single most valuable book to come out of the medical profession, (unfortunately out of… Read more »
Rick Robbins
Guest
0
Rick Robbins
September 15, 2013 9:38 pm

If anyone is curious about how to keep themselves healthy and has 40 minutes to listen, then you will appreciate what you hear.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7Ck9D45OT4

David Brown
Guest
0
October 25, 2013 1:41 pm
Stellar Biotech has a great future because it has patented the harvest of a natural/organic substance which when used in vaccines for difficult to treat diseases, helps stimulate one’s own immune system. This approach is the future for medical prevention/treatment–helping one’s own immune system fight off the bacteria, viruses or out of control cell growth (cancers etc…), rather than depending mostly upon chemicals, antibiotics or radiation which destroy part of one’s own immune defenses in the effort to attack the undesired invaders. While I agree with many of the points that Myron, Rick and others have raised on this thread–you… Read more »
Myron Martin
Author
208
October 26, 2013 3:27 pm
David: your point about genetics is well taken, but it reminds me of the scripture that says; “I will visit the sins of the fathers to the 3rd and 4th generation” meaning that it may take 3 or 4 generations to REVERSE what the past generation has brought upon itself by “riotous living” ignoring the rules of good health. It is true that some people manage to defy the odds, but eventually, even if it takes generations, poor lifestyle habits will augment disease and GOOD lifestyle habits will can reverse pathology as the immune system is strengthened with good nutrition… Read more »
Tom Boroughs
Guest
0
November 4, 2013 4:39 am
I received the tease from Nick Hodge as an advertisement and was very easily able to solve what it was before I found this (stockgumshoe.com) site. I had recently retired, as a pharmacist, and was looking for something to do. I was intrigued by what they were supposedly doing so I bought 2000+ shares when it was at $0.73 after I had seen it move for the past couple of days. I sold some of that to buy another company on 10/30/2013, at $1.88 per share. it has gone but to $2 and above, that seems to be where it… Read more »
Leo
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0
Leo
November 4, 2013 7:39 pm
Wow! I again got more out of the medical discussions than the investment advice. Caution: We need to listen to everyone and just do the math to see that is true. Both sides to this issue have demonstrated abject failures. The alipaths failures are pretty much on the record, and although there are many testimonials for the alternatives some of these apolygists (sp) have never really been exposed to serious disease. I am 80 and have dreams of living to the age of my mothers sister who will be a healthy 105 in March. I have eaten healthily and excercised… Read more »
who noze
Guest
0
November 16, 2013 9:21 pm

hi travis just as an aside there was a 2000to one on voisd now 500,000sh outstanding w// a name change mind solutioons [ reverse split

dennis
Guest
0
November 19, 2013 2:39 am

Leo,save your money and smoke med.pot. An oil spill could wipe out the large snail.

theblindsquirrel
Guest
0
Jim Skelton, The Blind Squirrel
November 19, 2013 11:34 am
Dennis: I’m thinking you’ve had one too many tokes of that medical weed you suggest Leo began. Don’t get me wrong – I am a proponent of legalization of MJ and know it does help relieve pain plus other benefits. One might say it’s God’s own contribution to our human frailty. Just don’t get stoned, get stupid, and drive! Or try to explain the theory or relativity. As for wiping out the Giant Keyhole Limpet via an oil spill, tell me this: How will that oil make it’s way into the aquaculture tanks that Stellar has up and running? And… Read more »
Fred Di Francesco
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0
Fred Di Francesco
January 21, 2014 9:55 pm
Stellar has partnered with Amaran Biotechnology to evaluate methods of manufacturing of Amaran’s drug OBI-822 active immunotherapy, using Stellar’s GMP grade KLH, for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer, in Phase II/III trials in the United States, South Korea, Taiwan, India, and Hong Kong, and Phase I/II trials for the treatment of ovarian cancer, in Taiwan. Amaran has built the factory, and Stellar will be responsible for the production of GMP Grade KLH, for evaluation as the carrier molecule in OBI-822 immunothera;y, and for methodology, formulation, and qualification of KLH reference standards, for which Amaran will pay Stellar. Additionally, Amaran… Read more »
theblindsquirrel
Irregular
105
March 9, 2014 7:45 pm
Someone recently commented on this bblog abot the “risk / reward” equation when it comes to new technology. He used GE as his example of a company bringing a new technology to the market (in this case it was electricity to the Nation) and by so doing being the cause of some 300,000 house fires each year that kead to 3,000 deaths and and around 8 billion dollars in damages each year. His question was is that “acceptable risk / return?” Are you kidding me? It most certainly was and is! Does the writer think there were no fires and… Read more »
Fred Di Francesco
Guest
0
Fred Di Francesco
April 30, 2014 11:46 am

Stellar has been taking a beating for the past few days. Other than a general malaise in the market, as a whole, I can’t see the reason why.

Fred Di Francesco
Guest
0
Fred Di Francesco
April 30, 2014 11:51 am

I’ve got some dry powder…might pick up a few more shares at these prices…like to see a bottom form, though…looks like it wants to go down some more, short term.

google.com
Guest
0
May 13, 2014 11:09 am

Spot on with this write-up, I actually feel this web site needs much more attention.

I’ll probably be returning to see more, thanks for the information!

Fred Di Francesco
Guest
0
Fred Di Francesco
June 17, 2014 12:33 am
I read somewhere, that Frank Oakes’ wife sold her 500,000 shares at $1.50. I HAVE wondered where the heck all the selling–started in April–is coming from; somebody’s sure selling a ton, and cheap. Given the size of the orders, I’m thinking: “Insiders”. Today’s Time & Sales indicate that there are over a million shares at the $1.01 Ask. As usual, Stellar is keeping mum on this and pretty much everything else. And with the missus dumping her shares, it’s hard to believe there’s any good news on the horizon. It frankly appears that the stock wants to go down some… Read more »
Fred Di Francesco
Guest
0
Fred Di Francesco
July 3, 2014 9:33 pm

I was sniffing around on the Canadian Stellar (V:KLH); apparently, an insider , Ernesto Echavarria, has been buying shares and warrants; he’s currently holding over 10,000,000 shares, as well as warrants. Here’s a link:
http://www.stockhouse.com/companies/bullboard/v.klh/stellar-biotechnologies,-inc?postid=22693825

Fred
Guest
0
Fred
July 22, 2014 1:34 am
This, undoubtedly, was one of Mexican businessman and CPA Ernesto Echavarria’s buys; I’ve been reading up on him and his dozens of what are described only as “Buys or Dispositions” of shares of Stellar. Unfortunately, they don’t give clear information on whether each transaction is a Buy or a Sell. Elsewhere, I did read that he holds over 20% of the float. He is also an insider (i.e., holder of at least 10% of shares) of several other companies–he seems to have a sweet tooth for Canadian Juniors–and has a controlling interest in Frank’s fruits and vegetables in Mexico. Several… Read more »
Fred
Guest
0
Fred
July 28, 2014 11:10 pm

The last few days have certainly been nice…lots of heavy buying in Stellar, and double digit percentage gains…just about recouped from the recent drop. Haven’t seen any news, however. It’s hard telling what’s caused all the sudden interest.

Fred
Guest
0
Fred
August 14, 2014 3:11 am
Well, well, well, the last three days have seen a 41% jump, from $0.92 to $1.40, and on huge…35X average daily volume. I suspect this huge jump has something to do with Michael Robinson releasing a promotion to sell his Money Morning Prospectus, with a reference to “Living Metal”, which calls KLH something else and calls the Keyhole Limpet something else. Travis has that covered. here: http://www.stockgumshoe.com/reviews/radical-technology-profits/liquid-metal-tiny-company-has-monopoly-141478-for-a-thimbleful/ But there is also other news: Stellar to be listed on the major exchanges, several Big Pharma companies lining up to ink a deal with Stellar. A lot of this may be hype,… Read more »
Bill Powell
Guest
0
Bill Powell
October 5, 2015 1:08 pm

Stellar did a 1;10 stock split? on sept. 2 2015 – so prices mentioned need to be x10 to compare to current prices.

Fred
Guest
0
Fred
October 5, 2015 2:32 pm
Yep, they give you one of the new shares for ten of your (pre-split) shares. The new shares are worth 10 X;. They’ve submitted an application for listing on the NASDAQ; this split is done so that Stellar’s shares’ value will conform with NASDAQ guidelines, and are otherwise value-neutral. Since the rumor of a pending NASDAQ listing is part of what caused the nice move in Aug. 2014, I thought an actual application, with an “act in furtherance”, the reverse split, might kick off another rally. But at this point, it doesn’t appear to have worked out that way. We… Read more »
moremoney2
Irregular
1
moremoney2
February 15, 2016 11:13 am

I see that Nick Hodges is promoting this again. Got a teaser today by e-mail. Anyone know any progress with this/new news that would make it a viable consideration?

Sushi
Guest
0
Sushi
August 13, 2016 7:07 pm

So glad I read your article before I got involved!

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