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Derrick Lilly is an accomplished and versatile writer, editor and award-winning copywriter currently based in Chicago. With an adventurous and entrepreneurial spirit, he’s eager to take on the challenges of any assignment, local or abroad. Derrick is currently writing and editing for the... More
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  • Provectus CFO Responds To Feuerstein Attack Article

    Following unprecedented volume and volatility in its stock price in the wake of an unsubstantiated attack article, Provectus Biopharmaceuticals Inc. (OTC:PVCT) filed a formal Form 8-K with the SEC and issued a public letter to the editor of TheStreet.com to raise awareness of the severe angle and omissions of the article.

    In addition to this information, I'd also encourage investors following PVCT news to read Dominic Rodrigues', CFA, P.Eng. latest blog post, "A Paradigm Shift vs. Obsolescence," that directly responds to the attack article to shed further light on the matter.

    For your convenience, text from PVCT CFO and COO, Peter R. Culpepper, CPA, MBA is below:

    January 23, 2014

    To the Editor:

    We are writing in response to Adam Feuerstein's article, "The Obsolescence of Provectus' Skin Cancer Drug Means Current Speculative Run Ends Badly," published on TheStreet.com, January 23, 2014. In it there are several inaccuracies and omissions. For instance, he writes that "PV-10 is a diluted solution of Rose Bengal" that "can be purchased by the gallon from any chemical supply company." In fact, the opposite is true. PV-10 is a sterile, non-pyrogenic, high-purity concentrated solution of rose bengal manufactured specifically for Provectus to modern pharmaceutical standards, under current good manufacturing practice (cGMP), by specialty contract manufacturers. The investigational drug product undergoes comprehensive chemical and biological release testing prior to use in clinical trials. Neither the drug substance nor the drug product are available for third-party purchase from any commercial source and both are of markedly higher purity than commercial dye-grade material referenced by Mr. Feuerstein.

    Also, counter to Mr. Feuerstein's claim, the Company furnished a great deal of pertinent information through its independent press agent (not spokesperson) Bill Gordon that he failed to include in his article. For instance, Provectus CEO Craig Dees issued a formal letter on May 13, 2013 which included a "Regulatory Progress" section noting the ongoing process with the FDA and providing insights about options, delays and possibilities being explored. A link to that announcement is also available on the Provectus web site pvct.com .

    We forwarded, as well, important scientific and medical announcements to Mr. Feuerstein, also omitted from his slanted coverage, regarding PV-10. One announcement, issued by Moffitt Cancer Center on August 22, 2013, highlights how early clinical trials show PV-10 can boost immune response in melanoma tumors, as well as the blood stream. Another, issued by our company on September 30, 2013, highlights important analyses of data from the completed Phase 2 study of intralesional PV-10 in metastatic melanoma as presented at the European Cancer Congress 2013 (ECCO 17- ESMO-38 - ESTRO 32) in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Both of these announcements are also available on the Provectus site for any readers interested in a more balanced view of the valuable work being done - and recognized - by Provectus on PV-10.

    Perhaps most importantly, the company press release on December 18, 2013 clearly stated that our company held a Type C meeting (not an End of Phase 2 meeting) with the FDA on December 16, 2013 "to determine which of the available paths that Provectus' novel oncology drug PV-10 will take in pursuit of FDA approval and commercialization." This press release also referenced an important new regulatory path, breakthrough therapy designation, that wasn't available in April 2012, the time at which Mr. Feuerstein implies the company went "mum" and after which our development program was purportedly static in the face of a rapidly changing commercial and regulatory climate.

    Mr. Feuerstein is selective in his choice of comparative metrics in melanoma, citing the 2013 failure of Allovectin-7 to prolong survival in Phase 3 testing while omitting mention of Phase 3 data on T-Vec, reported in a podium presentation at ASCO in June 2013, showing that this intralesional agent achieved its primary endpoint. While we won't attempt to address the myriad differences between these three agents, this cherry picking of negative data appears to be proffered to imply that PV-10 is destined for similar failure.

    Finally, it is public knowledge that members of our corporate advisory board include Pfizer executives and other high profile life science professionals. These additions came as a result of recognition by members of the medical and pharmaceutical communities.

    Clearly, Mr. Feuerstein decided not to include the facts I mention. Right now is a critical time for Provectus and while we, necessarily, needed to postpone an interview with him, we certainly offered to reschedule. It is my sincere hope that readers will consider what I have outlined and will continue to make their own decisions about our company and its promising drug in development - both now and following our further FDA-guidance-related announcements.

    A copy of this letter is also being filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission as an exhibit to a Current Report on Form 8-K.

    Very truly yours,

    Peter R. Culpepper, CPA, MBA

    CFO, COO

    Provectus Biopharmaceuticals, Inc.

    Disclosure: I am long PVCT.

    Tags: PVCT
    Jan 24 10:22 AM | Link | Comment!
  • Provectus Biopharmaceuticals Sell-Off

    Today shareholders of Provectus Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. (OTC:PVCT) went for a wild ride. Shortly after topping out at $6.03, the stock began a long slide down to a low of $1.42 on high volume before settling at $1.87. Average volume for the last three months is approximately 1.5m shares; today, 30m shares traded hands.

    So what caused the massive swing? Most comments are pointing fingers at a very bearish article written by Adam Feuerstein and published on TheStreet.com. Seeking Alpha picked up the story along with other market news sites and a panic ensued. There were also reports of several online brokerages blocking and delaying trades due to a problem with the company's name and CUSIP changes that went into effect today.

    What I can add to all of the comments and discussions flying around is that I have heard from a credible source that spoke directly with PVCT Investor Relations about the matter. It seems the article's author was provided with substantial technical information from the company to help him write his article. It was also said that representatives from the company could not meet his time frame for an interview, and proposed another time, but the author rebuffed and proceeded to write and publish his article without conducting any interviews with PVCT representatives at all, and seemingly ignored or didn't fully present the technical info he was provided as well.

    Supposedly, the PVCT Board is meeting to discuss a public response. It was said that they normally do not respond to such articles, but are considering it because of the sizable move in the share price and very high trading volume.

    For shareholders feeling burned, I would encourage you to email the PVCT IR contacts to show that you want a public response made or at least some acknowledgement to the situation. Contact info here: http://bit.ly/1aNCeh4

    Mailing Address:

    Provectus Biopharmaceuticals, Inc.

    info@pvct.com

    Investor Relations:

    Porter, LeVay & Rose, Inc.

    Marlon A. Nurse

    E-mail: marlon@plrinvest.com

    Media Relations:

    Porter, LeVay & Rose, Inc.

    E-mail: billgordon@pvct.com

    We'll see if PVCT comes out with anything, but it appears that the author published his article to support a personal agenda and clearly lacks any journalistic integrity or objectivity. For shareholders that have done their due diligence, you may see this as a buying opportunity before the long-awaited FDA minutes are made public. I'd encourage anyone to visit the PVCT website to learn more about the company and the treatments they are developing.

    I am only sharing this info to help calm the nerves. I have not contacted PVCT directly, and I have not spoken with the author of the previously mentioned article.

    Disclosure: I am long PVCT, .

    Tags: PVCT
    Jan 23 8:22 PM | Link | 4 Comments
  • Fire Up Your Finances

    I've been a writer for the Illinois CPA Society's INSIGHT Magazine for several years now, and in that time I've written about a broad variety of topics relating to personal finance, investing, the economy, professional development and more. It seems this experience has led many of my family, friends, neighbors and others to ask for some insight into how to handle their own financial futures. I wrote an article geared towards young professionals for INSIGHT called "Five Ways to Save", but really, the same tips can be expanded to apply to individuals of all ages looking to establish a financial plan.

    Whether the economy actually is or isn't improving, bulletproofing your budget and solidifying your savings is going to be increasingly important for a successful future. Here's how to get started.

    Maximize Your Earnings

    If you're lucky enough to be employed by an organization that offers employee benefits, making the most of them is a must. Perks like insurance, employer-sponsored retirement plans and pre-tax payroll deductions can seriously trim out-of-pocket expenses and free up more cash to save and invest.

    In most cases, a 401(k) is your best benefit when it comes to your financial future. Aside from the up-front tax savings, it's also one of the easiest ways to save for retirement. The key to 401(k)s is to take note of your employer's match. I strongly encourage you to contribute at least the minimum amount to receive the maximum match -- and more if you're able. Otherwise, you're leaving free money on the table.

    If you feel savvy enough, take your 401(k) planning a step further by looking closely at the investment offerings. Many employer-sponsored retirement plans have a limited pool of mutual funds for you to invest in. Since this pool typically contains similarly performing funds, my suggestion is to invest in part based on the lowest expenses (always keep your goals and risk tolerance in mind, too). In my case, this is a Dryden S&P index fund with a net expense ratio of 0.62% -- about 0.5% less than the next similar fund available and more than 1% below the most expensive fund. You'll be surprised, but oftentimes low-cost index funds outperform more expensive managed funds.

    Of course, it may be many years -- even decades -- before you can use your 401(k) funds without penalty, but other pre-tax payroll deductions can put more money in your pocket now. For example, having a portion of your salary deducted before payroll taxes for the purchase of transit fares, health club memberships, or a health savings account immediately reduces your taxable income, cuts down out-of-pocket expenses and simplifies your budget by eliminating the need to allocate the funds yourself.

    And, when it comes to payroll taxes, if you're receiving a sizable tax return from Uncle Sam, try adjusting your withholdings. A big tax return may seem like a nice bonus, but realistically you just lent the government all of that money for free!

    Look at the Long-Term

    Even after maxing out your 401(k), you will likely need to build a bigger retirement nest egg. This is where a Roth IRA comes in handy. While a 401(k) offers a nice up-front tax deduction, the contributions and any earnings are taxed at redemption. Since your paycheck (i.e., take home pay) is already taxed, you need to be tax-conscious when saving and investing what's left. By utilizing a Roth IRA, your contributions and any earnings grow tax-free. A Roth IRA also grants you much greater flexibility in investment choices: stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, bullion, etc.

    Personally, I like to invest my Roth IRA funds in dividend-paying stocks (I reinvest the dividends) and others that I think offer very high growth potential so I won't have to deal with the tax consequences later on. I also try to invest in diversified areas that I see as offering long-term value and growth based on global trends, my risk tolerance and investing timeline. Just to illustrate, my Roth IRA portfolio contains some of the following stocks as core positions: Altria (NYSE:MO), McEwen Mining (NYSE:MUX), Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX), Raytheon (NYSE:RTN), Seadrill Limited (NYSE:SDRL), Seaspan (NYSE:SSW), and Verizon (NYSE:VZ).

    Stay Safe in the Short-Term

    While planning for retirement is crucial, addressing near-term needs is just as important. Funds for the likes of buying a house or paying for an education within the next few years should never be in risky savings or investment vehicles.

    With interest rates so low it's hard to recommend doing this, but building a ladder of FDIC-insured Certificates of Deposit (CD) with this money is one option. With a CD you can secure funds over variable timeframes to guarantee income for your future needs. CD interest rates are commonly higher than standard savings accounts because you are securing it for an extended period and Bankrate is a nice resource for locating competitive interest rates on a variety of CDs and other savings accounts.

    Another option that I personally favor over CDs are government-issued I Savings Bonds. I like I Bonds because their interest rate is based on inflation, you can buy them at face value and the minimum term of ownership is only one year. Yes, if you redeem them before five years is up you must forfeit the three most recent months of interest, but that is a small penalty to pay for a secure investment that will out earn (at least currently) any CD or standard savings account. What's more, if you like their performance, you can hold them for 30 years and there are some additional tax-saving benefits.

    Save for Rainy Days

    Another way to ensure your financial future is to avoid substantial setbacks. I've learned the hard way that setting aside a portion of your paycheck for emergency reserves is tough, but trying to cover unexpected expenses without is a lot worse. Typically, six months worth of expenses is the recommended amount to set aside, but I'd try to build up one year's worth of expenses if you can.

    I think it's best to stash your emergency reserves somewhere accessible in case you need it quickly, but keep it out of sight so you're less tempted to dip into it. I personally keep my emergency funds in an online savings account through my credit union. The account is linked to a debit card and my checking account in case it's needed immediately, but it earns a higher rate of interest being online and at a credit union-historically credit unions pay higher interest rates than local brick-and-mortar banks. You can also check out other online banks like Ally and ING Direct (my parents use and like Ally).

    Put a Dent in Debt

    No matter how much you earn or save, ignoring your debts will lead to a financial nightmare. Carrying a balance on high-interest credit cards or failing to pay down high-interest loans will quickly erase your savings and devour your paycheck. As a matter of practice, always pay the minimum amount to avoid incurring fees, added finance charges or other penalties. If you can pay more than the balance due, or the entire balance, do it! If you have long-term loans like a mortgage, auto or student loan, focus your efforts on paying down the highest interest rate debts first. You should also look into refinancing options considering interest rates are so low right now.

    Being debt-free or at least minimizing it to a manageable amount will work wonders for you. It's very easy to overextend yourself which is why another important point is to establish an honest budget. Living within your means will help you avoid financial strains and help you stay on track with your financial goals. Simply put, buy what you need but spend less than you earn. And, if you happen to get a raise, save it; bump up your 401(k) contribution or boost up that rainy day fund.

    This is by no means a complete guide to all of the investment and personal financial planning options or out there, but I hope it helps you get started or at least think about doing so.

    Interested in adding precious metals to your investment list? Check out my other Seeking Alpha articles, including,"Beginners' Guide To Buying Metals."

    Dec 10 10:31 PM | Link | Comment!
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