Today I decided to sit down for a while with a teaser ad from Dr. Mark Skousen’s Forecasts & Strategies ($50/year) — this letter is actually from his publisher, Roger Michalski, but it focuses on an idea of Skousen’s that he calls “American X”.
So what is this secret “American X” company? It’s apparently got a cure for rheumatoid arthritis, which is arguably the most lucrative disease in the market right now. Here’s a little bit from the ad:
“… no one knows what causes it.
“Yet, the company I’m recommending today knows how to kill it.
“It’s a blockbuster breakthrough that could turn every drug prescribed within this $40 billion goldmine into useless garbage.
“Own shares today in this company…
“And tomorrow you might feel as if you bought the next winning Powerball Lottery ticket.”
Who wouldn’t love to hold the winning Powerball ticket, right? So what else do we learn about this “lottery ticket” idea?
“… this company — a biotech company in the mountains of Switzerland…
“Is fully capable of making you rich, no matter which direction the economy or the investment markets are headed.
“Provided, of course, you get in before the Wall Street lemmings.”
How exciting! “getting in early”…. “lottery ticket” … a mysterious location… this teaser ad is already covering most of the bases. What else?
“… there are many different RA drugs currently on the market…
“Because not every RA patient responds the same to any given one.
“So, doctors and patients frequently try different drugs to find the one that seems to work best for them…
“Which is why pharmaceutical companies and their shareholders have been getting rich off the $40 billion RA market.
“But this scattershot approach — throwing mud on the wall to see what sticks, so to speak — is getting old. Bottom line:
“This small company Mark’s recommending could put an end to RA…
“And deprive the world’s biggest and wealthiest pharmaceutical companies of tens of billions of dollars.”
So we get to “stick it” to big pharma, too? Man, where do I sign up?
Skousen illustrates the potential of this new drug by mentioning some current blockbusters — Humira, Enbrel and Remicade are all RA drugs, and Humira is by far the highest-revenue drug in the world at $20 billion last year (Enbrel and Remicade are in the $6-7 billion neighborhood, comfortably in the list of the top ten blockbuster drugs for 2018).
And he says this new drug uses some different mechanism — unlike that crop, it doesn’t “deactivate your immune system” entirely. More from the ad:
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“What this company has developed is a biologic that directly attacks the inflammation within your joints.
“This leaves your immune system untouched and unharmed, allowing it to continue fending off diseases and infections.”
This anti-rheumatoid arthritis drug is apparently code-named “Raptor”, and it’s been in Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials without serious side effects.
What else do we get by way of clues?
First, we get some bad news…
“This Swiss company is not a publicly-traded company… it’s privately owned.
“You can, however, buy all the shares you want in the American biotech company that owns exclusive rights to Raptor.
“Much as if they were the company that invented it!”
Ah, there we go — so there’s a US company involved. Which one?
“… it needed a partner.
“A partner with deep, deep pockets to fund Raptor’s continuing research and development.
“And to ultimately market it worldwide.
“After a long search, the Swiss company partnered with the publicly-traded American company that I call ‘American X’….
“Neither the Swiss company or American X have revealed the financial details of their partnership.
“But they have stated that American X will receive exclusive commercial rights to Raptor.”
And we get a quote from the CEO of the “small Swiss company” …
“We believe that combining our extensive experience with targeted therapies with American X’s world‐leading immunology expertise and clinical capabilities will optimize Raptor’s development pathway and progress.”
This is also apparently a bigger story — “Raptor” apparently targets angiogenesis, so it is also maybe useful for fighting cancer and inflammatory bowel disease… so Skousen extrapolates that to say that if it goes after all these diseases, the total sales could be over $350 billion (and after throwing that number around, says that if they get “only” 15% of the market they’d see $52 billion in new revenues).
Which is certainly a big number, even if it is mostly made up. What other clues do we get about this US partner?
“American X is not a small company.
“It’s not a thinly-financed biotech, a day away from shutting down if its ‘one and only’ product fails.
“Nor is it likely its shares will suffer a catastrophic meltdown if the stock market corrects or completely tanks.
“Or if we have another recession, which will undoubtedly happen sooner or later.
“American X is Practically Bullet-Proof!”
OK, so I know I’m not alone in finding th