Sometimes literary gimmicks backfire. In May 2015, we premiered “Cisco, Chang & Charlie” (sans Oxford comma) as a James Joycean brooding on the letter C, third letter of the alphabet, in three iterations. At the time, three stocks whose names begin with C were vying for attention and prompting questions from readers. The original plan was for a, er, threesome column….and yet I had to begin walking back that plan halfway through writing the first column.
The first column was to introduce Corbus ($CRBP) and demystify its then-cult stock status. Sometimes in this game of handicapping the ficklest of all competitions—biotech—-you’re going to get it wrong, and be even wronger when you try intercepting your own wrongness. To wit, by late December 2016, $CRBP looked increasingly genuine and was ensconced as one of the 12 Biotechs of Christmas. One relative truth in biotech, however, is data…data subject to interpretation and contextualization. You pay attention to data. When there’s a bend in the road, you gently adjust the steering wheel’s aim; refuse to do so, and you find yourself in a ditch. Refuse to modify your biotech opinions in a data-driven way, and you drive your portfolio into a ditch. In late spring, my ardor, based on data, for $CRBP again cooled. I recently closed out that position for a small loss.
The second column in the series was a near tear-jerker about a close friend and physician mentor, and how he died. His story served to provide context for an introduction to ChemoCentryx ($CCXI). That stock awaits a return to form; I exited many months back for a profit.
We never introduced the third “C stock” because by that point in mid-2015, it had begun trading like a broken stock and clearly would need some years to pull out of its death spiral. TIB: Weeks earlier it had looked very promising. The name of the third stock was mentioned in the threads, though few seemed to read the comment mentioning that. Astute reader Jonathan Coulbourn of Atlanta recently asked if the series would ever see its third part, and a comment posted with fixity of purpose earlier today by Sogiam provided a McGuffin….a springboard off of which I could go ploink and have a premise for spinning narrative about that flighty fugitive third C stock.
I’ve got little time to prepare this discussion because you need to ...