“The $10 billion jackpot awaiting whoever can stamp out the flu… and one small player that has the inside track”

Sniffing out Patrick Cox's pick that comes with a "chorus of angels singing"

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, September 6, 2012

If you ever want a dose of optimism, just read through (or listen to) any of the ads for Breakthrough Technology Alert — Patrick Cox will have you swelling with rosy thoughts about a future without disease or hardship, with a nice dose of 1,000,000% returns thrown in … that, after all, is the raison d’etre of the microcap biotech or technology newsletter, no one goes into these kinds of picks looking for a 10% return, a dividend, or stable growth, they’re scratching off lottery tickets and hoping for a massive return that lets them retire early — or at least get bragging rights at the next cocktail party.

The key, of course, is that you’re hoping your favorite stock picker is a little bit better at seeing through the little scratch off tickets with his X-ray vision, or prognosticating the winning numbers in the Powerball drawing … perhaps because he has great contacts in the industry, or is a scientific expert, or simply has some trading strategy that works better. Most of them fail most of the time, we suspect, but every once in a while there is that massive, fortune-making gain that keeps us salivating.

And knocking out influenza would, of course, ring the register quite nicely even for a mega-billion-dollar pharmaceutical company … so if a teensy little company can do it, well, one can be forgiven for entertaining thoughts of yacht-shopping. The common variety flu is, after all, one of the most widespread diseases that everyone wants a cure for and, even though most versions are not all that dangerous for healthy people, it’s also among the top ten killer diseases even in the developed world… and the one that spreads most easily and presents the constant threat of a killer pandemic if it mutates in an ugly way.

So what’s the new teaser pick from Cox?

Well, we learn about it in a recent free email newsletter from Agora (his publisher) that many readers have sent our way — here are a few excerpts:

“‘If I could provide a soundtrack with this letter,’ Patrick Cox writes, ‘you’d hear a chorus of angels singing now.’

“‘Seriously,’ says Patrick, ‘this drug has the potential to change world history and accelerate global progress measurably. That, however, is only the beginning.'”

“… a discovery that has the potential to tame not only the flu — but all viruses threatening human health….

“The most recent update: The drug no longer has to be injected. It can be taken orally and is nearly as effective. As you’ll see, this changes everything.

“‘Now that we know this drug for influenza can be delivered orally,’ writes Patrick, ‘the odds are that an HIV ligand that can survive will also be identified. That would be the end of AIDS as we know it, which would lift Africa out of the dark ages. Global domestic product would be kicked up a notch, which would benefit everybody by increasing trade and wealth internationally.'”

So it’s not even just about curing the flu and preventing future pandemics, it’s also about lifting a continent out of poverty and causing the angels to sing.

Here’s a bit more, in case you weren’t drooling yet:

“‘I think that it is entirely reasonable to assume that 30 million people would take a treatment for a dangerous flu that would end symptoms in just an hour or two — every year. Insurance companies would pay for the vast majority of uses.

“‘So $100 times 30 million uses is $3 billion a year,’ Patrick writes. ‘Double that for the European market and double it again for the world and you have potential sales easily exceeding $10 billion annually.

“‘Remember, this is an extremely inexpensive drug to manufacture when scaled up, so most of that revenue would fall into the profits column. When a pandemic hits, you would double sales… at least.

“‘The reason I say ‘at least’ is that an orally deliverable drug would work for flu prophylaxis, or prevention,’ Patrick continues. ‘Remember, this drug consists of big molecules compared with small molecule proteins. They are not metabolized and persist in the blood system for an extremely long time, perhaps months.

“‘This means that many people who are not at high risk for the flu would probably take the drug as soon as a pandemic hit anyway.

“‘Regulatory approval, of course, is the last hurdle before this world-changing technology comes to market,’ he writes. ‘Even that hurdle could be bypassed by going to a contract manufacturer if the next pandemic hits before the company is ready to manufacture on a mass scale.

“‘I hear angels singing again,’ Patrick concludes, ‘accompanied by the sound of cash register bells.'”

I guess by the “bypass regulatory hurdles” bit he means that if we get a pandemic, the FDA and CDC might just skip human trials and manufacture the drug immediately fo