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Alexander J. Poulos  

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  • Did Gilead Sciences Really Disappoint With Its Earnings Announcement? [View article]

    Thank you for providing additional color to this issue. When the share sold off I was dumbfounded as the belief is that patients would accept an inferior treatment fraught with more negative side effects when a far better, uncomplicated regiment with a far superior side effect profile is available. Trust me, those affected will be quite vocal and will force the insurance companies hand. I expect Express Scripts (ESI) to get steamrolled here similar to how WAG steamrolled them a couple of years ago.
    Nov 11, 2014. 08:47 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Did Gilead Sciences Really Disappoint With Its Earnings Announcement? [View article]

    I was quite surprised with the Riba data, in my view the data eliminates the need for this troublesome product. If you notice on the message boards, none of the Riba users have anything positive to say about it. I can't help but get the feeling they are moving towards an Atriplia type product for HCV. I simply fail to see how ABBV and MRK can effectively compete her especially with the expanded labeling. Great news indeed.
    Nov 11, 2014. 07:20 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Re-Examining My Bullish Thesis On Walgreen [View article]

    I certainly wouldn't complain as a shareholder. CVS decision in my estimation is very shortsighted as they continue to sell alcohol as well. The move in my opinion would have had more teeth if they removed alcohol and cigarettes. Instead they went half way which will negatively impact front end sales. The move will be viewed as a masterstroke if they are able to pass on a surcharge to customers that visit locations that also sell tobacco. I doubt the proposal will gain traction as CVS will now be facing off against big tobacco and big retail namely Wal-Mart who will simply refuse to stop selling tobacco products. It will be interesting to see how the story plays out. Thanks for reading and commenting.
    Nov 11, 2014. 05:37 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Re-Examining My Bullish Thesis On Walgreen [View article]

    I couldn't agree more, thanks for reading and commenting.
    Nov 11, 2014. 05:33 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Did Gilead Sciences Really Disappoint With Its Earnings Announcement? [View article]
    We are beginning to see GILD take the same approach to HCV that it did with HIV. I expect them to combine the new investigational ingredient with Sovaldi to form a new compound to treat HCV type 1 and 3. I expect them to continue to push for new compounds to add to a one a day tablet formulation to treat all 4 genotypes of HCV. With this method they will effectively lock out the competition for years to come.

    At The Liver Meeting in Boston, Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) presented data from three Phase 2 studies evaluating an all-oral pan-genotypic regimen, Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) + the company's investigational NS5A inhibitor GS-5816, for the treatment of HCV infection. The specific regimens were Sovaldi 400 mg plus GS-5816 25 mg or 100 mg, with and without ribavirin, for eight or 12 weeks.
    The first study, GS-US-342-0109, evaluated Sovaldi + GS5816 with and without ribavirin for 12 weeks in treatment-experienced HCV-1 and HCV-3 patients with and without cirrhosis. SVR12 rates: SOF + GS-5816 100 mg: 100% for GT1 with and without cirrhosis; 100% for GT3 without cirrhosis and 88% for GT3 with cirrhosis. SVR12 rates: SOF + GS-5816 + RBV: 100% for GT1 without cirrhosis and GT3 without cirrhosis; 90% in GT1 with cirrhosis and 96% in GT3 with cirrhosis.
    The second study, ELECTRON 2, evaluated the same regimen as the first study for eight weeks in non-cirrhotic treatment-naive genotype 3 patients. The SVR12 rate inclusive of ribavirin was 100% and 96% for the ribavirin-free approach.
    The third study, GS-US-342-0102, evaluated the same regimen as first study in non-cirrhotic treatment-naive patients. Results from Part A evaluating 12 weeks of treatment were presented at The International Liver Congress in April 2014. The results from Part B, presented this week, evaluated eight weeks of treatment in HCV-1 and HCV-2 patients. SVR12 rates were: G1: 81% and 90% with and without RBV; G2: 88% with and without RBV.
    Nov 11, 2014. 09:21 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Hershey A Better Investment Than Mondelez? [View article]
    Sure Dividend,

    Thank you for the article. If I could add a bit further, HSY is a far superior choice if we look at some metrics such as Return on equity and return on invested capital. Mondelez is averaging a high single digit number, barely earnings more than their cost of capital whereas, HSY is averaging mid 20's since the end of the 90's. Viewed from this lens, its not even close. Long HSY with intentions of quite possibly holding forever.
    Nov 10, 2014. 08:44 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Amgen Continues To Offer The Best Value In Biotech [View article]
    The FDA accepts for review Amgen's (AMGN +1.1%) Biologics License Application (BLA) for evolocumab for the treatment of high cholesterol. The BLA was submitted on August 27, 2014.
    Evolocumab is a fully human monoclonal antibody that inhibits proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9), a protein that reduces the liver's ability to remove low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) from the blood.
    The PDUFA date is August 27, 2015.

    In essence before next summer is over, AMGN should have a new cardiovascular franchise.
    Nov 10, 2014. 05:36 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Did Gilead Sciences Really Disappoint With Its Earnings Announcement? [View article]

    You are certainly correct. I posted the above missive to counter balance some of the negative press GILD has been receiving lately. Some commentators mentioned the MRK combo as having the best prospects of dethroning GILD. After the above posted results, I think it is safe to conclude GILD will be king of the mountain for quite a bit. Thanks for adding some additional color to the story.
    Nov 10, 2014. 05:33 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Did Gilead Sciences Really Disappoint With Its Earnings Announcement? [View article]
    Great news for GILD longs.

    At The Liver Meeting in Boston, Merck (NYSE:MRK) presented interim data on its triple-therapy regimen for HCV-1 infection. The investigational product combines the company's NS3/4A protease inhibitor, grazoprevir and its NS5A inhibitor, elbasvir, with Sovaldi (sofosbuvir).
    SVR4/8 for the 8-week regimen in treatment-naive cirrhotic patients was 94.7% (18 of 19). SVR4/8 values for other treatment groups, however, appear low. For the six-week regimen in treatment-naive cirrhotic patients, SVR4/8 was only 80% (16 of 20) with four relapses. For treatment-naive non-cirrhotic patients, the six-week regimen SVR4/8 was 86.7% (26/30) with four relapses while the four-week regimen failed to come anywhere close to efficacy at 38.7% (12/31) with 19 relapses.
    Of the 28 total relapses, 25 were genotype 1a and three were genotype 1b.
    The company plans to initiate Phase 2 clinical trials to assess the safety and efficacy of two short-duration triple therapy regimens: MK-3682 in combination with grazoprevir/elbasvir and MK-3682 in combination with grazoprevir and MK-8408 in non-cirrhotic HCV patients. MK-3682 is an investigational oral prodrug HCV nucleotide analogue NS5B polymerase inhibitor. MK-8408 is an investigational early-stage NS5A inhibitor.
    Nov 10, 2014. 08:54 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Las Vegas Sands: The Mall Properties Are The Hidden Gem Here [View article]

    Excellent comments, I share your frustrations. Let me elaborate a bit more on my current thinking on the shares. The major catalyst for LVS remains growth in Macau. The recent report that mentioned total gambling revenues declined in Oct is certainly not helping the situation. LVS is skewing more towards mass market than high roller which will insulate them a bit from the slowdown. I suspect once the corruption crackdown abates we will see a pickup in gaming activity. In the interim, I am reinvesting the dividend and I am hoping LVS is aggressively repurchasing shares here.

    As for longer term catalysts, the ones mentioned above even if approved are a late second half of the decade story. The story remains Macau, I suspect as the Chinese middle class continues to show income gains money will continue to funnel into Macau. The shares will probably continue to underperform until Macau shows growth. I am willing to ride it out as LVS, VIAB and AMIGY are the three holdings in my portfolio that are showing capital losses. My only regret with LVS is I added to the position in the high 60's. I wish I had waited until recently, however you can't win them all. Thanks for reading and commenting.
    Nov 8, 2014. 01:52 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Illustrating Ensco PLC's Fair Value [View article]
    Excerpt from SLB conference call.

    Paal Kibsgaard - Chief Executive Officer
    Well, I think if you look at first the deepwater rig supply, it was at the record high in Q3. At the same time, the number of stacked rigs continued to increase. And there's a further 10-year rigs planned for delivery in Q4. So I think it's very clear that we are in oversupply situation of deepwater rigs at this stage.

    Now if you look at deepwater drilling, which is really where we make most of our revenue, this year we expect to see a 6% decline in drilling rig activity for deepwater. Now this decline is mainly driven by Brazil, which is down about over 30%, and partially offset by the Gulf of Mexico and West Africa. So when you exclude Brazil, deepwater drilling is actually up about 3% versus 2013.

    So looking forward to 2015, we see flattish deepwater drilling activity in 2015, generally supported by lower rig rates. So we've weathered, I think, a fairly significant deepwater decline this year and we expect it to be more or less flattish going forward into next year.
    James West - ISI Group
    A lot of the commentary was around deepwater exploratory wells. Has your percentage of wells that you're working on a deepwater on the exploration side decreased, is it steady, is it increasing?
    Paal Kibsgaard - Chief Executive Officer
    If you look at the overall exploration market and the exploration spend, we expect now that the 2014 exploration spend will be down 45% versus last year. And this spend reduction is mainly led by seismic, which would be down more than 20%, while the exploration drilling is only slightly down. So I would say that the market is down overall, but the main driver for the reduction in exploration spend is predominantly seismic.
    Nov 7, 2014. 07:29 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Regeneron Plunges In What Barron's Calls A Significant Disappointment: My Analysis [View article]

    The issue with Crestor 40mg and Lipitor 80mg is rhabdomyalisis (muscle pain) which in my view prevents most from achieving their LDL goal. I suspect the market will be much larger than expected providing a nice lift for both AMGN and REGN and to a much lesser extent SNY.
    Nov 6, 2014. 08:04 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Regeneron Plunges In What Barron's Calls A Significant Disappointment: My Analysis [View article]

    Excellent work as always DOC. If I could add a small part, many are sceptical on the PCSK9's saying the treatment is very costly. Why would insurance cover this treatment when we have less expensive statin therapies. The reality that many are missing is statin therapy isn't well tolerated by many and in some just not effective. I haver asked a few colleagues and we peg the percentage (guess here) is 10% of the total statin marketplace. If we are proven correct, the treatment would be an instant blockbuster.

    I hold both AMGN and REGN in a 4:1 ratio. I view REGN the riskier yet worthwhile play here. If REGN pipeline does come through, I expect SNY to acquire them. Thanks again for the excellent article.
    Nov 6, 2014. 05:48 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gilead: Stay The Course [View article]

    A modicum of patience here will be well rewarded with GILD and GOOG. The share price won't rise in a straight line as there will be dips and sideways action (consolidation). The key here is the long term outlook, with GILD it is quite bright not simply because of the HCV franchise. The real key here is the stellar management team that is a proven winner. The team will be flush with cash over the next couple of years from HVC sales, I am excited to see how they deploy the capital. GILD if they play their cards correctly will become the largest biotech/pharma company based on market cap. GILD looks very much like PFE of the late 90's. Lets see how the story plays out.
    Nov 6, 2014. 04:13 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Following Carl Icahn Into Hertz Global [View article]

    The next two catalysts are the conclusion of the audit with a restatement of earnings and the announcement of a new CEO. The above examples are not in any particular order. Once the above mentioned events take place, expect to see some positive chatter from WS that will help drive the shares higher. Read CAR latest earnings report to get a feel for the industry. It seems CAR and HTZ have some pricing power here that they will be able to take advantage of in the coming year. Thanks for reading and commenting.
    Nov 6, 2014. 03:20 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment