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Over 30 years of investing in individual stocks. Extensive business experience with small to mid-size companies, including as CEO. Many hundreds of blog posts on financial and economic matters since 2008. Focus on value with catalysts for upside price action. Background as a physician and... More
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  • Gilead's Hepatitis Drugs Have Their First Serious Drug-Drug Interaction

    Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) has alerted health care providers, once called physicians, that sofosbuvir has probably been implicated in exacerbating the effects of the type III anti-arrhythmic drug amiodarone and causing excessively slow heart rates. There was one death and there were three pacemaker insertions. The interactions were seen both with Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) and Harvoni (sofosbuvir plus ledipasvir).

    Oddly, Gilead itself is in Phase 2 clinical trials using a next-generation analogue of amiodarone called dronedarone (Multaq) in combination with Gilead's ranolazine (Ranexa) to treat paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, in which the heart generally beats too fast and irregularly.

    I have not seen the warning; I would suppose that it would apply both to amiodarone and dronedarone, but that's not a certainty.

    In any case, these two anti-arrhythmics are not especially common drugs. I do not think this news will affect Gilead's profits in any material way. If the stock happens to sell off tomorrow out of apparent nervousness about this news item, I would expect it to reverse shortly.

    The bigger issue with GILD is, as I have sadly said some time ago, that EPS estimates for 2016 are steadily eroding. That's not what the Street wants from a stock that is up 5X since late 2011.

    Tags: GILD, Biotech
    Mar 22 10:09 PM | Link | 3 Comments
  • Apple Confirms Interest In Vehicle Development

    I recently wrote an article on Seeking Alpha about reports of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) interest in designing an automobile. Some commenters were dubious about that proposition.

    It now looks as though Apple itself has confirmed that it is serious about its possible foray into vehicle design and development.

    9TO5Mac reports:

    Apple has officially added vehicles to the corporate documents describing the company's activities, at least in Switzerland. The company's lawyers added the following paragraph, reports Swiss site ApfelBlog.

    Vehicles; Apparatus for locomotion by land, air or water; electronic hardware components for motor vehicles, rail cars and locomotives, ships and aircraft; Anti-theft devices; Theft alarms for vehicles; Bicycles; Golf carts; Wheelchairs; Air pumps; Motorcycles; Aftermarket parts (after-market parts) and accessories for the aforesaid goods.

    It's common to add catch-all terminology to company activities, so nothing should be read into the inclusion of ships and aircraft, though we're sure there will be a breathless headline somewhere soon about an Apple plane …

    This could be interesting, but of course it's probably very early in the project. Most early-stage projects that large companies engage it probably do not lead to marketed products, at least not directly or as originally planned.

    The point I made in my article about what this project signifies remains valid. Apple is looking to expand.

    Tags: AAPL, Automobiles
    Mar 02 8:07 AM | Link | Comment!
  • Portola: An Update

    I recently wrote a bullish article on Portola Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:PTLA), titled More Good News: Update On Portola As The Stock Pushes Toward All-Time Highs. This was on Feb. 12. The stock was around $30 when I wrote that. The article pointed to several positive data points.

    PTLA is now hitting $40. I think there is some short-covering going on, based on the trends in shares sold short. At least, no public news has arisen that I know of that would move the stock.

    My look at how PTLA has moved in its brief life as a public company suggests that this could be a short-term top in the making. I have taken some trading profits here while letting some shares ride for long-term gains. A retracement back to the mid-$30s would not surprise me.

    Tags: PTLA, biotech
    Feb 23 11:51 AM | Link | 8 Comments
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