Well, Star Scientific's (CIGX) press release was the most poorly written release I’ve ever seen so I’m afraid I’m going to have to translate it into Investor-English. It looks like guys who got their law degree in some outpost of Antarctica wrote it. Let's start with the catchy headline: “Roskamp Institute Obtains IRB Approval for Multi-Site Human Clinical Trial with Rock Creek Pharmaceutical RCP-006 Compound.”
Oh, Umm, did someone wake me up or am I still having a nightmare about RCPs and IRBs. No wonder the stock went down yesterday.
First off, I’ve been following the stock for awhile. I wrote about it at 1.50. I wrote about it at 2.50. I own shares. I bought more recently. Why did I buy it? I can care less about the fantastical math in the tobacco industry. You know the kind that says “1% of $600bb worth of cigarettes sold is blah blah blah”. I bought this because I think the compound they isolated from nicotine, anatabine, cures Alzheimer's among other things.
I follow very few biotech stocks. I followed Dendreon from $5 to $40. I’m currently following Pharmathene (NYSEMKT:PIP) because I think it’s a slam dunk they win against SIGA. And I’m following CIGX as well its relationship to RAI, PFE, MRK, etc.
Ok, on to the press release. I won’t bore you with the actual text. Here's a paragraph by paragraph translation:
Paragraph 1: Roskamp is beginning human trials... This was the worry a half year ago when Roskamp announced their involvement. “Where are the human trials” all the little babies on the message boards were crying. Well, here it is.
And they are going to be done in three months. That’s pretty confident. Roskamp, one of the top institutes for studying Alzheimer's has a million invested in CIGX. I don’t think they would be starting these human trials if they didn’t suspect what the results would be. Now forget the rest of that paragraph where they explain what they are looking for. They are looking for something called “inflammation”. Nobody knows for sure what effect chronic inflammation causes on the body but its linked to cancer, heart disease, strokes, blood pressure, and of course, Alzheimer's. Look it up on the World Wide Web. There’s a million references. So the theory is, if anatabine (i.e. CigRx) reduces inflammation then its highly likely it will have a positive effect on all the diseases related to inflammation.
Paragraph 2: Curtis Wright from CIGX repeats the same thing I just said. He might’ve thrown something in about weight loss. I could barely focus on it it was so boring. The question we must ask, though, is why Curtis Wright instead of the CEO of the company. Because Dr. Wright worked for a little known government organization called the FDA from 1989 to 1997. Make whatever judgment you want from that.
Paragraph 3: From hereon out we will call this the critical paragraph. In it it states that Roskamp is not only about to conduct a study but they already conducted a study. I know you were too bored to get to this paragraph but I am here to explain. Fear not!
They give an obscure URL: http://www.rfdn.org/inflammaging.html where they say they have already tested the effects of CIGrX (forget their RCP-OO6 Anatabine terminology. It’s the CIGrX pill made, patented by Star Scientific and distributed by Inventiv) on HUMAN brain tissue that is inflamed. They compare CIGrX to a control group and to Lipitor. They forgot to mention Lipitor in the press release for who knows what reason. Lipitor brings in something like $8bb in sales a year. Many studies have shown: that Lipitor reduces inflammation in the body. So this was a decent comparison, particularly since it’s the best-selling drug in the country. Here's one study.
The result? Which they don’t say in the press release but they do say in a totally obtuse fashion at the website: is that CIGrX blows away Lipitor. Lipitor reduces inflammation in inflamed human brain tissue by about 30% in the graphic and CIGrx by about 100%. Pretty neat. Nothing in history has done that before. What does it mean? It means that if inflammation cause Alzheimer's, and a host of other disease, which it probably does (according to a 1000 research papers on the internet) then CIGrx probably cures it. But I guess we will know in three months for sure when the same institute that put $1mm into the stock and did this study on the inflamed human brain tissue now does a 3 months experiment on actual humans.
Disclaimer: I own the stock. I will continue to own it. If it dips I will probably buy more. If random biotech experts say I am clueless I will be happy to compare my track record with theirs. I will probably ignore the CIGX message boards. If someone wants to argue with me, they can schedule a time with my secretary for the distant future when I’m out of the country. And I don't have a secretary. I’m waiting like everyone else. But I’m encouraged by the results even if I am discouraged with the totally non-promotional way they are disseminating the news. This is the opposite of a pump and dump. Heck, I wish they would be a bit more promotional.
But the CEO put $2mm of his own money in the company recently and I guess he figures if the pill cures Alzheimer's then why should he care what the press release says now. If the results even suggest the slightest cure of Alzheimer's than It’s a guarantee I will be taking a few of these pills a day for the rest of my life. Hold on a sec, I’m taking one right now.
Disclosure: I am long CIGX.