With the plethora of articles on Galena Biopharma (NASDAQ:GALE), and the articles I had written myself, some of which were interviews with the CEO of Galena, Mark Ahn, and some which are available to subscribers here on Seeking Alpha, the scenario has turned from a unique investment opportunity to a parade of questionable actions by more than a few people.
For the record, I myself did not find GALE by any of the so called "PR marketing approaches." I actually receive many of those little emails every single day and they take up zero time because to me that is not how selecting a stock should ever be done.
I was actually turned on to GALE by a friend of mine within the pharmaceutical industry who had been following the advances of the drug NeuVax, which had yet to complete Phase 2 clinical trials. By doing my own due diligence on the stock, but most importantly the drug itself, I found a very compelling reason to write about GALE.
My very first article is available to SA subscribers here: Galena Biopharma: David Battles Goliath. In it, I described my particular interest in the drug and the stock as such:
In the war against cancer, much of the fighting is done by some of the smallest of pharmaceutical companies. I believe the reason for this is that they hope to become one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies. Of course very few of them actually make it to the top but some have such a strong pipeline of potentially helpful drugs that they either get taken over by one of the big drug companies or team up with one to become extremely successful.
One such company is Galena Biopharma. With a market cap of under $200 million right now, the company is one of the "Davids" to battle "Goliath." With an impressive line up of cancer drugs, I believe GALE could become a major player in a significant portion of the drug market that battles cancer, breast cancer specifically.
I also discussed Abstral, the ties with Teva Pharmaceutical (NYSE:TEVA), and the pipeline of drugs that the company had in trials. Nobody from any "dream team" contacted me, the article was a success and I followed it up with several more articles. Most notably for myself, because since I had penned the first article back on June 19th, 2013, my own wife was diagnosed with stage 3 invasive breast cancer less than 3 weeks later.
Obviously, my interest became even more intense on the potential of a life-saving drug, since my wife fit the exact profile of what NeuVax was being targeted for. I am not going to get into the science of it all because that has been bandied back and forth ad nauseam, and the fact remains that NeuVax has shown promise and is now in Phase 3 clinical trials.
I proceeded to write a piece stating that one of my portfolios was going to take an initial position in GALE, which can be reviewed right here. After several more rounds of buying off the dips, I wound up with a solid position in Galena and followed the progress of the drug and the pipeline rather closely. I also continued to write about it.
Review this article as my coverage continued, after which I was contacted by Tiberend Strategic Advisors. The firm asked me if I wanted to interview the CEO of GALE, which I had never done before, so I reached out to SA management prior to doing the interview. The article can be found right here: Direct Answers From The CEO Crystallize The Strong Potential For Shareholders. The article is also only available to subscribers now, but the bottom line was that the interview primarily focused on the following topics:
- 4Q13 - Commercial launch of Abstral
- 4Q13 - Initial results from Phase I/II for FBP vaccine
- Year-end-2013 - Completion of enrollment in NeuVax Phase III PRESENT trial
- 1H14 - Interim analysis (70 events) for NeuVax Phase III PRESENT trial
It seemed to me that the CEO was being direct and candid, and stuck to the facts of the drugs. Whether or not the drug showed compelling promise has also been debated endlessly here so I refuse to get into it again, yet the fact remained that NeuVax was continuing in clinical trials, and now had other drugs, combined with NeuVax, in various stages of clinical trials.
Abstral was being prepared for launch, and it looked as though it could bring in revenue and profits when launched (which it has according to this earnings report filed just the other day). Subsequently I wrote this article back on November 17th, 2013, and this article, written on January 16th.
It was at that time that all hell broke loose between a rather negative looking appearance on CNBC's Mad Money, in which Jim Cramer suggested to take profits, and to be careful with GALE after its rise in share price even though several weeks before, he himself had "blessed it" as a speculative risk play.
At the same time, there were allegations of wrongdoing by Galena management, using the "Dream Team" to create buzz around the stock, and Galena insiders exercising options when the share price was climbing. I found these issues to be troubling to a certain extent, but the other writers of bearish articles here on Seeking Alpha were shorting the stock, intended to short the stock, or were playing put options on the stock, so personally, I saw it as a full blown bear attack to drive the share price down.
I then decided to reach out to my contacts at Tiberend Strategic Advisors, and insisted on another interview with Mark Ahn, which can be reviewed right here. You can make your own determination on the interview and the responses of course.
The negative articles have continued and the fact that Galena sold options at a time when the share price increased, perhaps because of the PR surrounding it, is most troubling to me of anything, and perhaps I was naïve to take Ahn at his word, yet who am I to be judge and jury?
I refuse to be a part of this any longer because it is my opinion that if the actions taken by Galena management made for ill-gotten gains, it will be dealt with. At the same time, I find the articles written by short sellers to be more than biased towards the negative side as well, and I would not trust anything they say or write, but that's just me.
We are all entitled, as shareholders, to know all of the facts about the company, the management, as well as the actual products. That is the information we use to determine whether or not to buy or sell shares, right?
As it stands now, the only facts we actually know have to do with the drugs that Galena is testing and selling (Abstral). The rest is now being investigated by the SEC as well as actions taken in the civil courts.
The Bottom Line
To me, it has always been about the drugs. I know people who use Abstral and they swear it is the best of any Fentanyl drug being sold. NeuVax might or might not be approved by the FDA and might or might not help breast cancer patients, although the argument there seems to have more positives than negatives for now.
As for the Galena management team, if they did anything wrong, shame on them, because not only does it seem unnecessary in hindsight, but for anyone to profit from the pain of others is more than questionable in my mind.
As for myself, I cannot be associated with Galena in any shape or form hence forth and have sold all positions. In good conscience, I cannot align my own integrity with anyone who seeks profit on the backs of cancer patients who need hope, help and in many cases a miracle.
That, my friends, is the heartbreak of all of this. In the end, the ones who might be the most devastated by all of this are cancer patients.
Shame on all of you.
Disclaimer: The opinions of the author are not recommendations to either buy or sell any security. Please remember to do your own research prior to making any investment decisions.
Disclosure: I am long TEVA. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.