Another biotech teaser for you today — these never seem to stop, perhaps partly because small biotech stocks are almost the only ones, other than little junior miners, that have a legitimate chance of seeing their prospects change dramatically overnight or see rapid 100%, 200%, 500% share price gains on a new discovery or shockingly good clinical trial results.
I expect we’re pretty close to seeing the gold mining teasers come back into play again, now that gold has staged a quick rally in 2016 to get the blood boiling, but for now the lead in the “you’ll get rich because of this fantastic discovery that I can share with you but you wouldn’t otherwise be able to understand” pitches are focused in clinical-stage biotech companies. And most of the time, the newsletter folks seem to think, “the smaller the better.”
This latest one is from Ray Blanco for Agora’s FDA Trader ($1,500 a year!), about a little $1 stock that he thinks could soon boom because of (another) cancer cure. Here’s the first part of the ad:
“I Predict This Man Will Win The Nobel Prize…
“…Because His Discovery Will Change the Lives of 595,690 Americans.
“It Could Also Hand You an Empire of Wealth If You Make One Simple Move Right Now….
“Imagine for a moment that it’s December, 2020…
“You pick up the latest copy of Time magazine at the grocery store checkout.
“The headline reads, ‘Nobel Prize Awarded to Texas Genius.’
“Because this announcement’s already made you an empire of wealth many times over…
“All because you read, and took action, on an email you received almost 5 years earlier… in early 2016.
“That would be this email.”
Laying it on a bit thick, right?
So who is this mysterious future Nobel winner? For that the clues are a bit thick, but we’ll get through that first and then, of course, move on to the company being teased… and no, we’re not going to spend $1,500 to get the answer, I’m sure the Thinkolator is up to the task and we can at least get you started on your research with a price that’s a bit more reasonable (How about free? You OK with free? If not, you can join the Irregulars and we’ll charge you $49 if that makes you feel better.)
Essentially what Blanco is referring to is the effort to harness the body’s immune system to fight cancer, which was mentioned by President Obama in last month’s State of the Union and has been a point of emphasis in oncology for decades and has already generated a few blockbuster drugs — the broad area of study is usually referred to as immuno-oncology or immunotherapy. More from the ad:
“Now, no investment is guaranteed and the wealth generating mega-catalysts I’ll show you could take time to pay off.
“That said, my research shows me if you take fast action, you could collect enormous new wealth over time.
“Now here’s what you need to know right off the bat…
“The hidden message in Obama’s State of the Union speech actually starts years ago with a man you’ve almost certainly never heard of who lives in Texas.
“From Eisenhower to Nixon to Obama… This Texas Man May Turn Political Posturing Into Reality
“A Texas man, while working as a researcher at the University of California Berkeley in the early 1990s, found something shocking.Are you getting our free Daily Update
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“Prior to his discovery, what this man found was merely theoretical science.
“For over 100 years, the most brilliant researchers in the world thought it might be possible, but they couldn’t come close to proving it….
“Then Obama mentioned it in his State of the Union speech. He was already behind the news.
“That’s because applications of what this Texas man found in the 1990s are now available to those who need it….
“As you can imagine, this man has become one of the most famous and respected scientists not only in his home state of Texas, but also the entire world.
“In fact, what I see as Obama’s hidden message in the State of the Union referred directly to this man’s work.
“This man recently won a Lasker Award.
“These prestigious awards are often called ‘America’s Nobel.’
“And I predict this man will win a Nobel Prize.
“I bet it’ll happen in the next few years. 2020 at the latest.”
That’s almost certainly a veiled reference to James Allison, who did pioneering work in “unleashing” T-cells to fight cancer (by using anti-CTLA4 antibodies in the early 1990s), and arguably made the first real modern breakthrough in cancer immunotherapy. He patented the monoclonal antibody that was licensed to Medarex and became ipilimumab, which was later named Yervoy and is now one of the big cancer immunotherapies from Bristol-Myers Squib (BMY), which bought Medarex seven years ago. Allison did win a Lasker award last Fall — I have no idea whether or not he’ll be in line for a Nobel someday, but some folks in the field certainly think so. The shadowed photo at the top of the ad looks a little bit more like Allison’s sometime colleague and fellow immunotherapy research leader Jedd Wolchok, frankly, but Wolchok didn’t win the Lasker prize.
The stuff about the State of the Union is a reference to the latest “war on cancer” promoted by President Obama, and the national “moonshot” effort to find a cure that’s being headlined by Vice President Biden. More from the ad:
“The goal of this nationwide initiative is to shift the treatment of cancer away from chemotherapy and toward…
“… You guessed it.
“Exactly the technology pioneered in the 1990s by the Texas researcher who could win a Nobel Prize.
“That’s right. Obama didn’t come out and say it, but the kind of technology this Texan pioneered is an integral part of his new Cancer Moonshot initiative.
“That was Obama’s ‘hidden message.’
“And I say… make the right move based on this ‘hidden message’, and you could make a fortune.
“This technology, with applications on the market as I write, recently contributed to the successful treatment of President Jimmy Carter’s terminal brain cancer.
“Obama’s push to get over the final hurdles of cancer treatment breakthroughs, coupled with the pharma industry focus means, simply put, the clock is ticking for cancer….
“Getting in front of this story today could make you richer than you ever imagined.
“That’s what I’ll show you today – the one step my research leads me to believe could put you on the path to collecting an empire of new wealth for your family.”
So that’s two references to specific drugs and technologies so far, neither of which has much to do with a “tiny $1 company” — Bristol-Myers Squibb owns Yervoy, the drug first developed by James Allison 20 years ago, and the drug that was used on former President Carter was Keytruda, which is owned by Merck (MRK). Both are large and profitable companies, obviously, and perhaps fine investments — BMY in particular has been widely cited as a immuno-oncology leader — but they’re not small “explosive” stocks.
So what is it that Blanco is getting at? Really, that stuff about James Allison and the State of the Union just sets the stage for “cancer immunotherapy is huge” without really having any connection to the specific stock he’s teasing… then, finally, we get to the “you’re gonna get rich” part of the ad:
“Immunotherapy treatments – on the market today and in testing – could finally turn the tide in the fight against cancer… save millions of lives… and make fast-movers like you incredibly rich.
“Because one small company I found has 140 rock-solid international patent protections for what could be an immunotherapy turbocharger.
“If you think immunotherapy has huge promise right now, in other words, wait until you get a load of this small company I found.
“This Could Be the Biggest Opportunity Yet… A $1.00 Company With 140 Patent Protections and TWO Major Potential Stock Explosion Catalysts in 2016.”
Ah, an “immunotherapy turbocharger” — so what does that mean? More from the pitch:
“One small company I found that currently trades for about $1.00 a share could be the biggest immunotherapy story of the year ahead.
“Even bigger than the companies directly involved in Obama’s Cancer Moonshot program.
“Remember how Yervoy and the other immunotherapy treatments above work by focusing on a certain type of receptor in the immune system?
“The treatment that this tiny company currently has in the works uses a different approach to make the immune system fight back ag