The phrase “Alzheimer’s Disease” sets off an almost pavlovian response among investors … we all know that Alzheimer’s is probably the least-understood major disease, and affects a spectacularly huge number of people, and even those who don’t get beyond fifth grade math can do the calculations: more than five million Americans have the disease, and that number continues to rise, people are living longer and already a third of senior citizens who leave this mortal coil have Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia at the end of their lives. That’s a LOT of potential patients.
And they have almost nowhere to turn — there are a few approved drugs that help some patients with some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, particularly memory loss, but they don’t do anything to cure, prevent or reverse the disease. That’s the golden ticket for pharmaceutical companies, but the search for cures has also burned many big pharma companies and sent quite a few little biotechs into death spirals — there’s still plenty of debate about exactly what causes Alzheimer’s, the trials are expensive, and many companies have spent millions of dollars (or hundreds of millions) only to find out that their compound had dangerous side effects, or was ineffective.
Some of the big pharma companies have effectively given up on the disease for now, but there are still a half dozen heavyweights pushing through clinical trials — mostly for BACE inhibitors, which are designed to stop the formation of amyloid plaque (the most likely cause of Alzheimer’s, according to many but certainly not all scientists). Other BACE inhibitors have failed, but hope springs eternal — and there are also, as Doc Gumshoe noted in a brief update a few months ago, more than 1,000 clinical trails going on in Alzheimer’s disease (that includes treatment protocols and devices as well as drugs, but there are a lot of drugs).
Which is a long way of saying that yes, Alzheimer’s is probably the largest underserved market in medicine. And has been for longer than Stock Gumshoe has been around (that’s seven years now). Every time any halfway appealing Alzheimer’s drug enters clinical trials, investors jump on the story … especially when it’s a smaller company (“Pure play” biotechs are always sexier because they offer more ridiculous upside — Merck (MRK), for example, has a Phase III drug in trials now that is generating some hope … but even an anticipated market of perhaps $5-10 billion for their drug by some analysts doesn’t have people lusting after the stock, given Merck’s $160 billion market cap and $44 billion in sales last year).
And the stock being teased as an Alzheimer’s pick today by Alex Daley at Casey Extraordinary Technology is, indeed, a relatively small company with an Alzheimer’s drug in clinical trials. And no, it’s not the tiny one that was teased several times in 2010 and 2011 (that was Anavex Life Sciences, AVXL, which was around $3 when first teased and is now down around 25 cents… their lead drug is now “Anavex Plus” and is a cocktail of their lead compound, Anavex 2-73, mixed with Pfizer’s Aricept (the current far-and-away leader in Alzheimer’s symptom-attacking drugs).
So what is it? Here’s the intro which provides the first couple of clues:
“We’ve just uncovered an amazing story about one man’s recovery from one of the world’s most dreaded… and expensive… diseases. His groundbreaking drug treatment could soon become widely available and dominate a $604 billion medical market.
“And in March 2014, the entire world will find out why. The payoff to you could be astronomical… with triple-digit gains possible in one day….
“It’s no wonder the National Institute on Aging calls this disease a ‘looming health epidemic.’
“And the few drugs on the market that treat this disease—approved more than a decade ago—only target the symptoms of this degenerative brain disease and not the underlying cause.
“Yet, even with their limited effectiveness, their combined sales last year topped $6 billion, according to BCC Research.
“Analysts estimate that a treatment that targets the cause of the disease itself could generate sales of $20 billion or more.
“As you probably know by now, the disease is Alzheimer’s.
“ABC News recently reported that it’s ‘…the only one of the top 10 causes of death in America that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed down once it begins.’
“But that’s about to change…
“Because in March 2014, one little-known biotech will release its biggest clinical results yet on a groundbreaking new Alzheimer’s treatment that co