Well, yesterday we went through the first two picks that Patrick Cox is teasing as his “7 breakthrough companies” that will bring us our next “printing press moment” and change the world (while inflating your wallet). If you want to catch up with the rest of the group, that article is here.
So let’s move on to the next five, shall we? We’ll do this rapid-fire style, partly because I have very little expertise in this sector … and partly because I want to have time to get through all of them for you.
“The third company I reveal in The Next Printing Press: Revolutionary Gains from 7 Tiny Breakthrough Companies just received the go-ahead from the FDA for Phase III tests of a colorectal cancer treatment.
“This company also focuses on diseases like liver cancer….
“This company’s drug targets a certain type of “receptors in cancer cells. It attacks the cancer via these special receptors, and shows promise to shut the cancer down….
“This hidden little company has research agreements with Mount Sinai School of Medicine to test their treatments.
“So while it only trades for a little over $1.00 a share today, this company is getting ready for the next step.
“The next step is more tests. More positive results. And hopefully a Merck-style run-up that makes the earliest investors richer than they ever dreamed.”
So, hoodat? Limited clues, I suppose — but the mighty, mighty Thinkolator is (you guessed it) mighty indeed … so that’s enough for us to tell you that this is very likely …
Pro-Pharmaceuticals (PRWP, trades over the counter)
PRWP has been over a buck for most of the year, after getting “positive feedback” on their phase III trial design from the FDA back on January 10. That drug is called Davanat, and that’s all I know about it other than the tidbit from the press release, which is that this is based on their platform of “Galectin targeting therapeutic compounds” (their liver cancer idea is also based on this, apparently, and that’s the one on which they’re collaborating with Mt. Sinai — preclinical, which means no human tests yet and many years from a potential product). Yeah, I don’t know what Galectins are, either.
So they have a go-ahead from the FDA, sort of — the way I read it, they basically got preapproval for their submission of the clinical trial protocol and folks seem to think that since they got this positive feedback the protocol will be approved when they officially submit it. I don’t know when that will be.
They say that they have enough cash to meet their operating obligations until mid-2012, about $8 million, though they will certainly need to raise more money by then (at least) and I’d be surprised if that cash on hand is enough to also get the phase III trial cooking, since Phase III trials tend to be large and long-lasting and cost a bucketload of cash — as with any little pharma stock like this (market cap well under $100 million), my assumption is that once some efficacy is proven to get the big drug companies excited, they’d partner the drug to get to the next stage of development, but I don’t know if that will be their specific strategy. And given their specific wording in the last report, I don’t know if paying for the Phase III trial is an “obligation” of the company before the middle of next year.
PRWP positions itself as a “platform” company in developing all kinds of treatments based on their Galectin-targeting technology, but certainly the biggest driver of the stock in the near term is likely to be this lead candidate for colon cancer — with the first news, other than the possible start of the actual phase III trial, likely to come from Colombia, where the drug is partnered with someone who seems to be pushing it somewhat more aggressively.
So that seems to be number three — next!
“The fourth company I reveal in The Next Printing Press: Revolutionary Gains from 7 Tiny Breakthrough Companies hopes to some day stop Alzheimer’s in its tracks.
This company just received approval to begin Phase I trials.
“The most amazing part is – for the first time ever – researchers are working on a drug that treats the root causes of Alzheimer’s, not just the symptoms….”
This is probably Anavex Life Sciences again (AVXL, trades over the counter) — if he’s being precise about the “just received approval.” There are other treatments in the lab for Alzheimer’s, and other drugs in clinical trials — most of which end up being ineffective or dangerous, given the complexity and risks of the disease, and the fact that they’re working in the brain. But Anavex’s compound, based on what they call their “Sigmaceptor” technology, is one of the ones that does indeed target the disease itself, rather than help to ameliorate symptoms.
They have just begun screening patients for their Phase I trial, so things are finally moving — but it is, of course, very early days still, they say it has taken them ten years to get this drug to Phase 1 trials, and since it’s a first-in-class drug for Alzheimer’s, my assumption is that it will probably take almost that long to get this drug to market even if everything goes swimmingly with the trials. I’ve written about Anavex a couple times, most recently when I concluded that it was teased by Patrick Cox in a separate ad last Fall. Alzheimer’s drugs are extraordinarily enticing for investors because of the massive unmet need, but they have also disappointed many times and driven many companies into the dirt because of side effects or ineffectiveness. I hope it works out for them.
But we’re moving on — number five!
“… the fifth company I tell you all about in The Next Printing Press: Revolutionary Gains from 7 Tiny Breakthrough Companies has a unique way to deliver both current and new drugs.
“I’m talking about non-invasive, continuous blood sugar monitoring.
“This company just won a major Technology and Innovation award in early 2011 for their breakthrough work.
“Plus – the FDA has given the company the ‘all clear’ to push their drug delivery platform to market.
“A recent press release finally broke open the story of how this one tiny company could help speed up the effects of topical anesthetics– so many medical procedures can get started faster, with no patient pain.”
Thinkolator sez: Echo Therapeutics (ECTE)
Echo did just win a Technology and Innovation award, from Frost and Sullivan — the award was for their skin prep solution, and they also have a continuous glucose monitoring system in development. Here’s how they describe themselves:
“Echo is developing its PreludeTM SkinPrep System to allow for painless and significantly enhanced skin permeation that will enable both needle-free drug delivery and analyte extraction. Utilizing this technology, Echo is also developing its needle-free SymphonyTM tCGM System as a non-invasive, wireless, transdermal continuous glucose monitoring (tCGM) system for use in hospital critical care units and for people with diabetes.”
They are apparently close to getting FDA approval for their drug delivery system, Prelude (this is a medical device, so it’s a different approval process), and they may have that approval already for all I know (though one would think they’d have issued a press release if so). The last news from the company was that they are on track for generating revenues from this product in the third quarter. Here’s how the company sees things going in 2011:
“‘As we continue to build on our positive momentum, we are focused on completing several key milestones during 2011 that we believe will significantly increase shareholder value. We anticipate a listing on a national exchange in the near-term which will allow us to maximize our outreach to a new, untapped investor base. Additionally, we hope to gain product clearance for our Prelude System with our licensee Ferndale which will enable the company to begin generating near-term revenue,’ Dr. Mooney concluded. ‘This year we plan to aggressively advance our clinical development of our Symphony system, clearing the path for an application to the FDA for marketing clearance. We anticipate securing additional strategic partner licensing arrangements while we begin manufacturing scale-up for Prelude’s product validation and planned product launch in the second half of 2011.'”
I imagine they’re going to have to raise money at some point soon unless revenues come in very strong and immediately from Ferndale for the Prelude license, since they have been losing about $5 million per year and don’t have enough cash on hand at the moment to do that for another year — but they are pretty advanced with these two devices and the technology is certainly cool. And, as importantly, these aren’t new drugs so they probably shouldn’t be expected to carry the same risks (or timeline) as drug development. And if they do uplist to the Amex or something, that could help considerably — they are, like the others mentioned here, tiny and near $100 million in market cap ($120 million, to be more precise).
There are two more? Seriously? OK … number six!
“The sixth company in The Next Printing Press: Revolutionary Gains from 7 Tiny Breakthrough Companies could be close to destroying almost any type of virus.
“The best part – this company’s research platform could eliminate any number of viruses after it’s in your body – all via a painless skin patch. Just like putting on a band-aid.
“Plus, you could be immune to that virus for the rest of your life….
“Early results for this tiny firm are amazing. The company has an agreement with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to do further tests. The company also has an agreement with the U.S. Army to test possible treatments for terrible viruses like Ebola and Marburg.
“Data from the pre-clinical studies so far are incredible. PLUS – a major university in California is testing this company’s HIV virus drug idea right now. Today you can pick up shares of this company for mere pocket change. But maybe not for long. Good news is piling up for this firm by the day.”
This one is also not necessarily replete with enough clues to be 100% sure, but I’m pretty certain that Cox here is once again teasing Nanoviricides (NNVC, trades over the counter). They do have a drug testing agreement for anti-HIV compounds with UC San Francisco, their platform is something that should be able to destroy almost all viruses, and there is potential for a skin patch (for ongoing treatments for HIV, at least, maybe not for all their stuff). And yes, they have testing agreements with the army for Ebola and Marburg, though pretty much all the antiviral stocks you’ve heard of have received some defense department funding for bioterrorism response to diseases like those.
And it’s a fascinating company, to say the least — this is a Connecticut company, and there’s a good story on the scientist behind the stock from the New Haven Independent that also explains the basics of their technology.
Nanoviricides has been teased by Cox at least a few times in the past, and they do not have any drugs in clinical trials — their first candidate for human trials is likely to be FluCide, which just reported excellent results in animal testing for bird flu and is also supposed to be effective for plain ol’ influenza. There is a “fact sheet” presentation of the basics of the company on their website, FYI. The company is planning to partner their commercially-important drugs, like FluCide and HIV-Cide, with pharma companies to advance development, but since they’re not even in the clinic yet anything (or nothing) could happen — and it could easily take many years. It’s a big idea stock — a company with a significant idea/technology that could enable many different products, and that is at least looking really good in animal studies.
“The seventh company I reveal in The Next Printing Press: Revolutionary Gains from 7 Tiny Breakthrough Companies could be the most shocking yet…
“This tiny company has a treatment that shows promise to reduce an inflammatory response of the human blood to a bacterial toxin. These results mean broader research into, and possibly more control over, what’s called C-reactive protein (CRP).
“High CRP is a marker chronic inflammation and is an indicator of risk for many different diseases– and a lower CRP means lower risk of becoming ill.
“The most amazing part of this drug is that the natural compound it uses is also found in foods you’ve probably eaten this week.
“The company is preparing to enroll 200 patients in a study of their compound as I speak. This is one story that might not stay secret much longer…”
Well, let’s see if we can make sure that it stops being a secret right away, shall we? I think this one is very likely to be Star Scientific (CIGX), which started out as (and still is) a “safer tobacco” stock, but which is also using tobacco to try to create nutraceutical and pharmaceutical compounds.
I actually hold a small position in some CIGX call options (acquired during the current crazy run, unfortunately — not before … the stock has just about tripled this month), mostly as a speculation that their anti-cancer tobacco-curing patents might get them a windfall payment from the tobacco companies (they just won a patent suit against RJ Reynolds), but they also have a biotech subsidiary that’s researching applications of the stuff they’ve found in tobacco leaves (technical terms, eh?). The subsidiary, Rock Creek Pharmaceuticals, is working on this anti-inflammatory compound, which is a form of anatabine, including possible applications for Alzheimer’s disease. They’re also trying to set up an auction with pharmaceutical companies for licensing/partnering deals with this anatabine compound.
CIGX has been a disappointment for years, but certainly not this month — my small speculation is based on the convergence of news stories, with the biggest in my mind being the possible auction for licensing deals for anatabine and the confirmation of their patents for certain safer tobacco processes. I could easily be wrong about the impact of either of these on CIGX’s income statement over the next few months, but I don’t mind a bit of a gamble now and then.
So what do you think? Excited about any of Cox’s seven “printing press” ideas for investment millions? They all sound very cool and sexy, and you can see that I have a small toe in the water at CIGX (though for long-term speculating I might be most intrigued by Nanoviricides, which I don’t own), but I certainly don’t know nearly as much about these as Patrick Cox or other biotech experts might — I’m just pretty sure that these stocks are all the matches for his teaser hints. If you’ve got info to share on any of them, or on your favorite change-the-world picks, feel free to edufy with a comment below.