Author Archive for Pharmboy

As scientists train the immune system to fight cancer, others look to combat costs

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

As scientists train the immune system to fight cancer, others look to combat costs

Courtesy of Ian HaydonUniversity of Washington

File 20170513 3682 14mgxoi

Poison, radiation or surgery.

For decades now, these have been the only weapons available in the war against cancer. But everyone who has known cancer up close – patients, their loved ones and physicians – has longed for a better way.

Immunotherapy is emerging as the so-called fourth pillar of cancer therapy, alongside chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Unlike these older approaches, immunotherapy works with your body by boosting your immune system’s natural ability to detect and eliminate cancer.

“Boosting your immune system” might sound cheap, but with a foe like cancer, simply upping your vitamin C intake won’t cut it.

Billions of research dollars, including from the Obama administration’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative, are being poured into finding new, molecular tools to enhance the immune system’s ability to fight cancer of all types. Now that these new therapies are starting to work, some researchers are turning their attention to something else: driving down costs.

Engineering antibodies to better recognize cancer

Antibodies are a natural part of the immune system. Their job is to physically adhere to specific molecules, including to proteins found on the surface of cells. If antibodies are able to stick to their target, they can (in some cases) recruit other parts of the immune system to take it out.

Perhaps the most famous anti-cancer antibody drug available today is trastuzumab, or Herceptin. In certain forms of breast cancer, a growth-related protein called HER2 is extra abundant on the surface of cancerous cells. Herceptin is engineered to bind to HER2, which not only slows down tumor growth, but also allows the rest of the immune system to mount an attack.

Cancer cells displaying an Achilles’ heel – the HER2 biomarker (red dots). Journal of Pathology Informatics CC-NC-SA

Herceptin has proven effective…
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CRISPR controversy raises questions about gene-editing technique

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CRISPR controversy raises questions about gene-editing technique

Courtesy of Ian HaydonUniversity of Washington

File 20170531 23531 1sfeuqi

Laboratory mice are among the first animals to have their diseases treated by CRISPR. tiburi via

A new research paper is stirring up controversy among scientists interested in using DNA editing to treat disease.

In a two-page article published in the journal Nature Methods on May 30, a group of six scientists report an alarming number of so-called “off-target mutations” in mice that underwent an experimental gene repair therapy.

CRISPR, the hot new gene-editing technique that’s taken biology by storm, is no stranger to headlines. What is unusual, however, is a scientific article so clearly describing a potentially fatal shortcoming of this promising technology.

The research community is digesting this news – with many experts suggesting flaws with the experiment, not the revolutionary technique.

Unwanted DNA changes

The research team sought to repair a genetic mutation known to cause a form of blindness in mice. This could be accomplished, they showed, by changing just one DNA letter in the mouse genome.

They were able to successfully correct the targeted mutation in each of the two mice they treated. But they also observed an alarming number of additional DNA changes — more than 1,600 per mouse — in areas of the genome they did not intend to modify.

The authors attribute these unintended mutations to the experimental CRISPR-based gene editing therapy they used.

Cas9, the CRISPR enzyme that snips DNA, in contact with its target. | PDB: 5FW2 | doi:10.2210/pdb5fw2/pdb, CC BY-ND

A central promise of CRISPR-based gene editing is its ability to pinpoint particular genes. But if this technology produces dangerous side effects by creating unexpected and unwanted mutations across the genome, that could hamper or even derail many of its applications.

Several previous research articles have reported
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Beyond just promise, CRISPR is delivering in the lab today

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Beyond just promise, CRISPR is delivering in the lab today

Courtesy of Ian HaydonUniversity of Washington

File 20170512 32578 1hmhoo8

Precision editing DNA allows for some amazing applications. Ian Haydon, CC BY-ND

There’s a revolution happening in biology, and its name is CRISPR. The Conversation

CRISPR (pronounced “crisper”) is a powerful technique for editing DNA. It has received an enormous amount of attention in the scientific and popular press, largely based on the promise of what this powerful gene editing technology will someday do.

CRISPR was Science magazine’s 2015 Breakthrough of the Year; it’s been featured prominently in the New Yorker more than once; and The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Jennifer Lopez will be the executive producer on an upcoming CRISPR-themed NBC bio-crime drama. Not bad for a molecular biology laboratory technique.

Two of the CRISPR co-inventors, Emmanuelle Charpentier (middle-left) and Jennifer Doudna (middle-right), rubbing elbows with celebs after receiving the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. Breakthrough Prize Foundation, CC BY-ND

CRISPR is not the first molecular tool designed to edit DNA, but it gained its fame because it solves some longstanding problems in the field. First, it is highly specific. When properly set up, the molecular scissors that make up the CRISPR system will snip target DNA only where you want them to. It is also incredibly cheap. Unlike previous gene editing systems which could cost thousands of dollars, a relative novice can purchase a CRISPR toolkit for less than US$50.

Research labs around the world are in the process of turning the hype surrounding the CRISPR technique into real results. Addgene, a nonprofit supplier of scientific reagents, has shipped tens of thousands of CRISPR toolkits to researchers in more than 80 countries, and the scientific literature is now packed with thousands of CRISPR-related publications.

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CAR-T & CRISPR – the Future is Now

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

PSW Members….it has been a while since my last post, but since many have all been on the board following the chat, it is time for a scientific lesson in a few of the companies we are long.  In addition, another revolution is coming in the medical field, and it will be touched upon as well.

CAR-T – stands for Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) and the T is for T-cell.  

From the picture above, T-cells are one cell type of our immune system that fight off infection as well as they are one player at keeping rogue cells from becoming cancerous. Unfortunately, cancer somehow evades the immune system and so it begins.

CAR-T came along in the late1980s via a brilliant scientist, Zelig Eshhar, an Israeli immunologist at the Weizmann Institue of Science.  The basic steps are noted below in picture.  The insertion of different 'components' and the way the replication of the protein happens (Step 2; Step 2 subitem 4) yields the clinical variations that are competing in this area by the companies.    

KITE, JUNO and Novartis all have CD19 directed CAR-T technologies.  CD19 was attractive as a CAR-based target therapy because most B-cell leukemias and lymphomas express it, but normal tissue other than the B cell lineage do not.   The companies therefore have focused on CD19 first, and there are subtle difference in the way the T-cells are made.

Any modification of the immune system comes with risk, and CAR-T was no exception.  Even thought the CAR-T was hailed as a wonder treatment due to is successes in blood born cancer, it also caused some complications.  Last year, JUNO hit the wall with their lead, as it caused severe cerebral edema – cytokine storm??  This caused all the CAR-Ts to be evaluated, but in the end, only JUNO's lead was halted. Companies are continually making progress on the CAR-T front, and BLCM seems to be on the cusp of one way to get around a side effect.  

BLCM also has a CD19 directed CAR-T program, with a twist that…
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The Medicines Company: Insider Buying

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

I'm seeing huge insider buying in the biotech company The Medicines Company (MDCO). The price has already moved up around 7%, but these buys are significant, in the millions of dollars range. ~ Ilene




Insider transaction table and buying vs. selling graphic above from

Chart below from

Epizyme – A Waiting Game

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Epizyme was founded in 2007, and trying to create drugs to treat patient's cancer by focusing on genetically-linked differences between normal and cancer cells. Cancer areas of focus include leukemia, Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and breast cancer.  One of the Epizme cofounders, H. Robert Horvitz, won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2002 for "discoveries concerning genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death."

Before discussing the drug targets of Epizyme, understanding epigenetics is crucial to comprehend the company's goals.  

Genetic components are the DNA sequences that are 'inherited.'  Some of these genes are stronger than others in their expression (e.g., eye color).  Yet, some genes turn on or off due to external factors (environmental), and it is understanding the regulation of these genes that brings the term 'epigenetics.'  In other words, epigenetics does not have to be a nucleotide change in the DNA itself, but rather a functional regulation of the gene's expression.

Genes expression are controlled by many mechanisms, but Epizyme is focused on DNA methylation. DNA methylation is important for the regulation of gene expression, and functions normally to silence genes in genomic imprinting, X-chromosome inactivation, repressing repetative elements, aging, and cancer.  Two specific enzymes, DOT1L & EZH2 are the focus of the Company, and are DNA methylation enzymes (ie, Epizyme!!).  By inhibiting these two enzymes, cancer repressor genes will be turned on, and in conjunction with other chemotherapy agents, cancers may be repressed.

Early on, the Company raised $54M, and then GSK and Eisai signed up and pumped in $26M,  In May 2013, the Company went public for about $15 (5.9M shares at the time were sold), and shot out of the gate with a 50% premium the first day of trading to ~ $23.  The company was a darling.  While the company had two drugs in clinic, the compounds were very early on in clinical trials, but things were looking promising.   In Phase 1 data for their EZH2 inhibitor, tazemetostat, in genetically defined solid tumors of NHL, the overall response rate (ORR) was ~ 56% ((May 2015) which is very good!).  The phase 2 data…
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This Is Why Biotech Stocks May Explode Again

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members.

Here's an interesting article from Investor's Business Daily arguing that biotech stocks are beginning to recover from their recent declines, notwithstanding current weakness.

This Is Why Biotech Stocks May Explode Again



After a three-year bull run that more than quadrupled its value by its peak last July, IBD’s Medical-Biomed/Biotech Industry Group plunged 50% by early February, hurt by backlashes against high drug prices and mergers that seek to lower corporate taxes.


The group was up by even more before taking some hits over the past two weeks on negative earnings news from several industry players. But fund managers tell IBD the rebound is here. 

Why? For one, they say, the spate of bad news has already been factored into stock prices. But more than that, they see a climate favoring rejuvenated M&A, hot drugs in the new-product pipeline and pricing power for innovate products.

Bottom line: The positive factors that drove the runup never went away, they say. They just got drowned out by the noise.

“A very key point is that this group is a very high-beta group — particularly the small- to midcap stocks. Since they don’t have sales, they don’t have earnings,” said Tom Vandeventer, portfolio manager at Tocqueville Asset Management.

“The history of this group is that elevated macro uncertainty definitely hits (it),” Vandeventer said. “My own opinion is this group trades more on sentiment than on fundamentals during those time periods.”

Full article here >

Endo International plc – Ordinary Shares (ENDP) Collapses Taking Hedge Fund Returns With It

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members.

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Endo International plc – Ordinary Shares (ENDP) shares are crashing and when I say crashing I do not mean one percent or two percent or five percent or ten percent but at the time of this writing 38 percent. The biotech company is having a Valeant style crash and like Valeant ENDP is a big hedge fund hotel stock and it is likely killing returns for many, unless there is a big rebound soon.

Endo International plc - Ordinary Shares

Endo International plc – Ordinary Shares

As ZeroHedge notes (parenthesis ours):

The pain, however, is especially acute for a lot of hedge funds, because as Goldman reminds us after the spectacular blow ups of Valeant and Allergan, and recently, the plunge in uber hedge fund hotel AAPL, Endo itself is one of the stocks that has the highest hedge fund concentration in the S&P.

Endo International plc - Ordinary Shares

Endo International plc – Ordinary Shares

Who are these hedge funds? Most of the usual suspects including Visium (which is also having other issues), Viking Global (more pain), Paulson (shocker), Brahman, MSD and of course countless bank prop desks as listed below.

Endo International plc - Ordinary Shares

So if we report next week that the "smart money outflows" have continued for a record 15th week, we will know who the weekly scapegoat is for the latest redemption deluge as panicking hedge funds are forced to liquidate other assets to cover for their massive P&L blow ups in ENDP this morning.

Endo International plc – Ordinary Shares

The sell…
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Cantor Says Relypsa’s Veltassa Metrics Look Favorable

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Positive Data Points For Veltassa Launch

Veltassa metrics look favorable so far, including a low payer rejection rate of ~20 percent, conversion from starter pack to prescriptions between 50 and 60 percent and in-line gross-to-net discount of approximately 25 percent.

Veltassa sales, albeit modest, were ahead of expectations. Veltassa sales came in at $0.6 million, compared to the 1Q16 estimate of $0.25 million. Relypsa had previously reported 1,155 outpatient prescriptions and 374 hospital/institution units sold in the quarter.

“Excluding gross-to-net discounts, sales would have been $0.8 million. Our expectation for 1H:16 has been modest, as we expect 2H:16, and in particular 4Q:16 to create visibility on Veltassa's sales potential,” analyst Mara Goldstein wrote.

Relypsa’s shares have come under pressure because investors may be viewing the debt financing as a major obstacle to a potential takeout of the company, Goldstein commented, while adding, “We continue to like the shares because of our view of the potential of Veltassa and hyperkalemia market overall.” She expects 3Q16 to be an inflection point for Veltassa, and could result in a realignment of valuation.

Latest Ratings for RLYP

Date Firm Action From To
May 2016 BTIG Research Maintains   Buy
May 2016 Cantor Fitzgerald Maintains   Buy
May 2016 Mizuho Securities Downgrades Neutral Underperform

View More Analyst Ratings for RLYP

View the Latest Analyst Ratings

BTIG Cuts Veltassa Estimates, Relypsa's Price Target To $35
Mizuho Downgrades Relypsa, Says Near-Term Takeout 'Unlikely'
Relypsa's (RLYP) CEO John Orwin on Q1 2016 Results – Earnings Call Transcript (Seeking Alpha)

Posted-In: Cantor Fitzgerald Mara GoldsteinAnalyst Color Long Ideas Price Target Reiteration Analyst Ratings Trading Ideas

PRGO, VRX and the Papa of “Strong Shareholder Orientation”

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members.

By Ilene 

Remember this? It was Monday. PRGO is down from around $130 to under $100 since I started following it LAST WEEK. That's down almost 25% in a week, and almost 50% in the last year. I commented: 

"Perrigo CEO Joseph Papa leaves Perrigo (PRGO) to lead Valeant (VRX) while PRGO issues a warning about missing earnings expectations. Not surprisingly, PRGO stock plummeted today. 

Robert Ingram, Chairman of the [Valeant] Board, stated, "The Board has conducted a thorough search process and believes that Joe is the ideal leader for Valeant at this time. He has a strong shareholder orientation, a background in science, and an unmatched track record of accomplishments, highlighted by his ability to lead companies through times of transition and drive excellence across commercial, manufacturing and R&D platforms. In addition, fostering an ethical culture and creating opportunities for professional development have always been high priorities for Joe, and we look forward to Joe's arrival at Valeant" (Valeant names Papa CEO after he resigns from Perrigo).

"Reuters reports that Mr. Shareholder Orientation became 'well-known on Wall Street last year when Dublin-based Perrigo rebuffed a $26 billion takeover by Mylan NV, the largest-ever hostile bid decided by a shareholder vote.' Perrigo's market cap has now dropped to around $14.2 billion [now $13.9 billion] — down over 18% today alone -- making Papa look foolish for rejecting that buyout offer."

So after successfully (but not intelligently) fighting a $26 billion hostile takeover bid from Mylan, Perrigo reports disappointing quarterly results and it "slashes its outlook" (Perrigo shares tumble as CEO leaves for Valeant, guidance cut again). The stock has been in free fall and Papa is described as having a "strong shareholder orientation" and an "ethical culture."

While many were congratulating VRX for recruiting Papa to be its CEO, Jim Cramer wrote,

Perrigo's (PRGO) heartbreaking. How could Joe Papa, the man who was so intertwined with Perrigo for so long, the man who came on Mad Money and argued there was so much more value to the company than the price Mylan put on it — some 80 points higher than where it went out —

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Zero Hedge

Traders Yawn After Fed's "Great Unwind"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

One day after the much anticipated Fed announcement in which Yellen unveiled the "Great Unwinding" of a decade of aggressive stimulus, it has been a mostly quiet session as the Fed's intentions had been widely telegraphed (besides the December rate hike which now appears assured), despite a spate of other central bank announcements, most notably out of Japan and Norway, both of which kept policy unchanged as expected.

“Yesterday was a momentous day - the beginning of the end of QE,” Bhanu Baweja a cross-asset strategist at UBS, told Bloomberg TV. “The market for the first time is now m...

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Digital Currencies

Can cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin survive scrutiny from central banks?


Can cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin survive scrutiny from central banks?

Courtesy of Nafis AlamUniversity of Reading

William Potter/Shutterstock

The future of money looks very different in the world of cryptocurrencies. There is a growing consensus among businesses, investors and countries (Venezuela in particular) that these alternative forms of online money are going to dominate payments in the next decade. There may be agreem...

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Tagging Fake Articles Is Failing To Combat Fake News

By Rupert Hargreaves. Originally published at ValueWalk.

So-called “fake news” and not in form of The Onion (which is obvious satire) has been around in one form or another for hundreds of years. The world’s first daily newspapers, which were printed in London’s Fleet Street in the early 1700s, were full of stories and hearsay designed to influence readers and drum up sales. However, the readership of these papers was relatively limited compared to the size of the audience available to online publications today.

]]> Get The Timeless Reading eBook in PDF

Get the entire 10-part series on Timeless Reading in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues.

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Insider Scoop

Wall Street Weighs In On Adobe's Mixed Earnings Report

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related ADBE 15 Biggest Mid-Day Losers For Wednesday 5 Biggest Price Target Changes For Wednesday ... more from Insider

Chart School

Minor Changes: Yesterday's and Weekend Comments Remain Valid

Courtesy of Declan.

I don't want to overplay today's action as little changed in the broader scheme of things. Days like today are welcomed and help shape up swing trades for those trading in near term timeframes.

The tight doji in the S&P could be used for a swing trade; buy a break of the high/short loss of low - stop on flip side. High whipsaw risk but look for 3:1 risk:reward and maybe trail stops if deciding to go with partial profits.

Tech averages are still set up for a breakout. While not an ...

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Members' Corner

"Citron Exposes Ubiquiti Networks" But TNN Says "Not So Fast"

What do you think? (There's a comment section below )


Does Ubiquiti Networks (NASDAQ:UBNT) actually have real products that sell to consumers? Of course! So did Valeant and WorldCom, but that does not stop its financials from having every indication of being completely fraudulent.

Citron will detail a series of alarming red flags and detail how Ubiquiti Networks is deceiving the investing public.

Read the full report here.


Rebutal by The Nattering Naybob, ...

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Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.


This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...

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Can low doses of chemicals affect your health? A new report weighs the evidence

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.


Can low doses of chemicals affect your health? A new report weighs the evidence

Courtesy of Rachel ShafferUniversity of Washington

Assessing the data. LightField Studios/

Toxicology’s founding father, Paracelsus, is famous for proclaiming that “...

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Mapping The Market

The App Economy Will Be Worth $6 Trillion in Five Years

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

This would be excellent news for AAPL and GOOG to a lesser extent although not inconsequential:

The App Economy Will Be Worth $6 Trillion in Five Years 

In five years, the app economy will be worth $6.3 trillion, up from $1.3 trillion last year, according to a report released today by app measurement company App Annie. What explains the growth? More people are spending more time and -- crucially -- more money in apps. While on average people aren't downloading many more apps, App Annie expects global app usership to nearly double to 6.3 billion people in the next five years while the time spent in apps will more than double. And, it expects the...

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NewsWare: Watch Today's Webinar!


We have a great guest at today's webinar!

Bill Olsen from NewsWare will be giving us a fun and lively demonstration of the advantages that real-time news provides. NewsWare is a market intelligence tool for news. In today's data driven markets, it is truly beneficial to have a tool that delivers access to the professional sources where you can obtain the facts in real time.

Join our webinar, free, it's open to all. 

Just click here at 1 pm est and join in!

[For more information on NewsWare, click here. For a list of prices: NewsWar...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Brazil; Waterfall in prices starting? Impact U.S.?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Below looks at the Brazil ETF (EWZ) over the last decade. The rally over the past year has it facing a critical level, from a Power of the Pattern perspective.


EWZ is facing dual resistance at (1), while in a 9-year down trend of lower highs and lower lows. The counter trend rally over the past 17-months has it testing key falling resistance. Did the counter trend reflation rally just end at dual resistance???

If EWZ b...

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.

To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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FeedTheBull - Top Stock market and Finance Sites

About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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