Matt Berry

Long/short equity, deep value
Matt Berry
Long/short equity, deep value
Contributor since: 2010
You wrote about my research: "they aren't misleading. they are decisively incorrect" & "use every logical fallacy in the books"
You were taken up on that statement and challenged to provide examples. You provide none, because there are none. Here is my research. Show me an example of an error. Here is my research.
Clearsign's Lies, Omissions, And One 'Bad Actor' at http://seekingalpha.co...
Clearsign's tech has been rejected from the Kern County proposal: http://seekingalpha.co...
It was rejected because it was "neither technologically nor economically feasible."
Someone explain this to me. Here are the two virtually identical titles from two supposedly different journals.
Scientific American: "Flame-Taming Electric Fields Could Make Power Plants Cleaner"
MIT Technology Review: "Flame-Shaping Electric Fields Could Make Power Plants Cleaner"
These are bloggers who are just lifting from CLIR's own promotional material. The tech was not tested by either MIT or Scientific American. These guys are just trying to get through their day, and availing themselves of a press release and phone call.
More:
Scientific American: "Much of the air pollution produced by today’s fossil-fuel power plants is the result of imperfect combustion. Hot spots in a flame increase the reactions between fuel and air molecules and lead to formation of common air pollutants like nitrogen oxides (or NOx, a precursor to smog), carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter.
MIT Technology Review: "Much of the pollution from a power plant is the result of problems with combustion. If parts of a flame get too hot, it can lead to the formation of nitrogen oxides, which contribute to smog. Similarly, incomplete burning, which can result from the poor mixing of fuel and air, can form soot."
I received this reply from Mr. Wogan, the Sci. Amer. blogger: "My sources were staff at ClearSign Combustion: Geoff Osler, CMO and Co-founder; Joe Colannino, CTO; and Rick Rutkowski, CEO. I asked them the same question about their results. As I mentioned in the article, these have not been confirmed by a third-party yet."
I also wrote the Sci Amer. editors and supplied them with my research but they never replied. Mr. Wogan no longer works at Sci. Amer.
Similarly, I confirmed that Clearsign's own PR work was used as the source material for CLIR's inclusion in the Kern County planning commissions proposal alternatives. Predictably, CLIR's tech was rejected under actual scrutiny for not being adequately tested.
In fact, I was able to retrieve a letter through a public records request where Aera stated that as of Sept. 10, 2015 it had not conducted any official tests with CLIR's tech.
See my twitter feed and blog for details.
"Every part of that dumb article has been disproven."
Give me examples: see "Clearsign's Lies, Omissions, And One 'Bad Actor'" http://bit.ly/15DF7xk
"The regulators have confirmed the tech."
Kern county planning has just rejected Clearsign's tech from the proposal due to technological and economic infeasibility. They also stated that one of the reasons was that Clearsign's tech has not been proven or fully tested.
So how has CLIR's tech been confirmed?
"Aera has confirmed the tech."
Aera stated that as of Sept. 10, 2015 they have not conducted official tests with Clearsign's Tech. Why not?
Then it should be very easy for you to provide some examples: http://seekingalpha.co...
My research on ECC technology is decisive: http://seekingalpha.co...
Aera Energy states that as of September 10, 2015 CLIR's Duplex tech has not been officially tested. Why? ... one of the reasons why Duplex was rejected.
One of the reasons CLIR has been rejected is because it has not been fully tested, as stated.
Aera Energy in a letter dated September 10, 2015 stated that "No official testing had been completed" ...
Not just official language. "... lower-emission steam generation technology, such as, by way of example, the ClearSign Duplex Tile combustion technology or similar technologies …. However, Alternative 5 is not technologically or economically feasible. Low-emission steam generation technologies are still in the demonstration and prototype phase.” …
“All technologies currently under consideration require additional testing and validation in actual operating conditions and environments before they can be considered field-proven.” …
You can see county page with link here: http://bit.ly/1hlsMrd scroll down to "staff report" for 10-05-2015 (today)
Actually, Clearsign was never on the proposal to begin with. It was mentioned as an alternative to the proposal. If the proposal passed as originally written Clearsign would have been left out. No matter – “Duplex” tech has now been rejected even as an alternative because it is “neither technologically nor economically feasible.”
CLIR Duplex was rejected from touted Kern County proposal. The tech is "neither technologically nor economically feasible."
A Kern County meeting "to receive comments" will be held today at 5:00 PM. However a "Staff Report" was already published last Thursday. (At least, that's when I found it.) Clearsign has already been rejected due to technological and commercial infeasibility.
Founders of Clearsign: http://seekingalpha.co...
Nice work Duane.
How did LifeSci Advisors receive responses for the lomitapide survey? Mail, email, website, phone, or other?
Might have gone down with momentum-bust in Bio-space, forcing ETFs to unload without discriminating between types and forcing managers to meet redemptions, creating reinforcing cycle: "baby out with the bathwater." This or that theory aside, for longs, its an opportunity to increase the bet.
"A blabbermouth CEO doesn't seem like a strong starting point for an investigation to me." AEGR IR has said that they believe the FDA and DOJ issues are separate -- so the problem is more than "blabber-mouthing". There is a reason for the DOJ investigation of promotion, marketing and sales practices. If AEGR is forced, by law or excessive scrutiny, to correct sales practices, expect revenue to be affected.
AEGR is going to have a seriously difficult time justifying its $1.5 billion market cap with $100 to $200 million revenue, especially if revenue flattens out and shows no growth going forward.
@seekingvalue
"Doctors prescribe off-label all the time." Yes, but Pharma companies cannot promote off-label. It's is illegal. If AEGR's own scientists are correct that there are only 300 US HoFH patients, then AEGR management's attempt to get more than 300 could put AEGR at risk for off-label marketing.
The FDA warning is not a light matter. Also, you didn't mention the DOJ. The Department of Justice investigation was initiated for a reason. That's not a light matter either. We can also expect that if the Brazilian investigation via their anti-corruption law yields evidence, then there is a threat that the SEC/DOJ might follow with action via the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Both Bio Insights and LifeSci Advisors wrote on AEGR. They both received a mention in Rick Pearson's recent expose of paid shills on SA: http://seekingalpha.co...
Pearson: "My concerns with Bio Insights are as follows: First, he was identified to me as a paid writer by Tom Meyer. Second, he has written a large number of articles on Proactive/Dream Team clients. For example, he wrote on CytRx at the early part of that promotion in October. Third, there is a very obvious overlap between the articles of Bio Insights and Tech Guru and other identified paid writers. Fourth, the articles all appeared within the promotion window for these stocks and in fairly close proximity to the other authors from above."
Pearson: "Tech Guru has also clearly indicated that he does paid writing for LifeSci Advisors. I am still assembling further findings on LifeSci."
Pearson quoting Tech Guru: "its been my experience that when there are 2 firms on the same company they do very different things. for instance one firm like a mission IR for example would do promotional stuff- interviews, videos, syndication, whereas another one like Proactive or LifeSci Advisors to use those examples, would be the ones doing the seeking alpha articles, setting up road shows, and being more strategic in general. I work for the latter type of firms. I've never seen a case where there is direct overlap among firms doing the same thing, for the same client."
Hopefully we'll learn more as time goes on. See http://seekingalpha.co...
You don't defeat an argument by declaring how long it's lasted the test of time, but by providing new and conclusive information.
Of course I'm short AEGR. I investigated it and, given the facts presented here, believe AEGR has mislead investors.
And I've responded to you.
1. If you feel that the number in the scientific community is incorrect, you need to take this up with the scientists, not me. The number 300 is still used by scientists today. If it needs updating, why don't you contact them and have them subject their data and analyses to peer review?
2. If the Nobel Prize winners and AEGR scientists are correct with 300, then a sales method and promotion toward a number greater than 300 puts AEGR at risk of off-label promotion. THE GREATER THE NUMBER, THE GREATER THE RISK.


There is reason for the Department of Justice investigation of AEGR's marketing practices, what do you think that is?
See http://bit.ly/QcPNjw
The patient count of 300 was provided by the very scientists working on Aegerion's drug. That prevalence number was also used by Nobel prize winners. I had/have nothing to do with that estimate -- I'm following the facts.
If the Nobel prize winners are correct with the number 300, and if AEGR is promoting the drug to 3,000 candidates, this could constitute an off-label risk and prompt serious regulatory scrutiny. And indeed the department of justice is investigating them: search AEGR news for the subpoena.
Agree. More scrutiny will certainly result in an adjustment to the current numbers, but there is no basis to believe that it will adjust by the 1,000% that AEGR is claiming.
Yeah, who is going to go on TV now?
Also, there seems to be a regulatory shift here of some sorts. We'll just have to wait to see what is really happening behind the scenes at the FDA.
The "price target" was by Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. They have a history of conflicts of interests between analysts and investment banking.
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION,
450 Fifth Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20549-0801,
Plain tiff,
COMPLAINT
-against -
DEUTSCHE BANK SECURITIES INC.,
See SEC summary:
http://1.usa.gov/1ijSAkq
See SEC complaint:
http://1.usa.gov/1ijSyZA
Also, try Brokercheck.finra.org and go through their "regulatory events" -- more insight into these "analysts" and their "research."
http://bit.ly/LnMltS
>While the 187 doctors in Germany surveyed (out of 303,000 doctors in Germany) is an interesting data point, again, it is such a small sampling, that it isn't statistically meaningful.
1. It is more meaningful as a study open to public scrutiny than a secret-study a company only claims to have. Too convenient for a company to promote, “We have the evidence, but we’re not going to show it to you.”
2. 303,000 doctors in Germany: The study focused on doctors/clinics which treat HoFH. I wouldn’t expect podiatrists to be contacted, etc.
>Similarly, the article did a literature search "A systematic literature search in EMBASE and Medline was performed in conjunction with a targeted manual search for epidemiological HoFH studies." which is hardly real world data. It was a search launched based on research papers published.
You’ve presented only half of the aim. The literature search was done to compare with the empirical search. The very next sentence reads ….
“Additionally, a nationwide survey was conducted in Germany in all identified apheresis- and lipid centers. The purpose of this survey was the validation of the systematic literature search results based on empirical (practice) data.”
So here is your empirical search, paid for by AEGR and which estimates a prevalence of 1:860,000.
Additionally, Dutch studies show a prevalence of 1:640,000 (and with founder effect involved).
>While many short-sellers demand "Show me where it is published that the statistics are truly as high as you claim" it simply doesn't work that way.
AEGR claims a prevalence rate, without showing their investors or the scientific community evidence to back it up. Now they stop quoting patient counts. Add to that the low revenue for last quarter, which if responsibly deconstructed suggests that there was no patient growth.
>AEGR has a database of patients who have registered directly with them seeking treatment.
AEGR can create a database. Patients on therapy is another thing. Now we have no means of verification for either of them -- and the low revenue for this last quarter points toward a ceiling on US patient growth.
>These patients have health insurance that will pay for the treatment, and you'd better believe that those insurance companies are checking each and every diagnosis to be sure it is accurate and legitimate before paying that hefty fee.
Here’s one that requires prospective Juxtapid patients to try the rival Kynamro BEFORE trying AEGR’s drug.
“Homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH) adjunct therapy. Approve if ALL of the following are met (a AND b AND c AND d AND e AND f AND g AND h):
h. A documented prior trial and failure with mipomersen (Kynamro™)”
Paramount Healthcare: http://bit.ly/1ijR29Y
>Since AEGR has already crossed the 300 patient watermark,
Where did you get that number? Break down the revenue from last quarter and show me how you can calculate 250, let alone 300 patients on therapy without AEGR becoming a zero sum game by severely discounting the drug? “Acceleration” in patients on therapy is not mathematically possible for the last quarter if details given in CC are true. Do the math. At this rate, how will AEGR be able to justify its 2.5 billion market cap?
>Similarly, the empirical evidence is how many patients are diagnosed with the disease, and then how many go on treatment. Since nobody is going to fund a research project to "prove" the old statistics were inaccurate, we wait and see how many are actually diagnosed and go on treatment.
AEGR funded an empirical study in Germany and counted actual HoFH patients in practice. The prevalence rate was 1:860,000.
1. That number includes foreign patients.
2. From qtr to qtr to qtr,-- from 75 patients, to 215 patients, and now with AEGR going silent on patient counts we are left with trying to calculate patients based on qtrly revenue. There are a host of scenarios here, but it is difficult to find a scenario where AEGR has more than a 20 or 30 patient acquisition over the last quarter. It grew by 150 patients in the previous quarter. By what stretch of the imagination could this be an "acceleration," as CEO Beer claims? Is this why AEGR stopped revealing patient counts this quarter?
For value in the underlying enterprise to get a $2+ billion market cap, from 50 million in sales, AEGR needs extreme acceleration. Breaking down Aegerion's 3rd qtr revenue into patients on therapy: We aren't given a breakdown, esp. the mix of multi-month foreign sales to single month US sales, but even the most favorable scenario for AEGR suggests a sharp decline in growth in patient acquisition.
Also, if AEGR's 215 count represented US patients only, then as an investor I would worry about off-label use while under a very strict REMS ETASU. From last Friday's FDA warning to Aegerion, one can be very confident that the FDA is watching this team very closely.
No doubt that as the big players enter this area a lot of dust will be thrown in the air, but in the end, with a healthy debate, more accurate numbers will arrive, so I agree with you there. We will see in the end whether wall street has it right with "3,000" and the scientists had it wrong, with somewhere between 300 and 400. I'm betting on publically available information. Going with that public data, it seems that the count has been grossly exaggerated.
"… dating back to 1973 and older."
We are not limited to the 70's.
In a study funded by Aegerion and published in May 2013, an empirical study in Germany found 1:860,000 HoFH patients. Follow the link above.
Follow the links in the article: "(Genetic Causes of Monogenic Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia: A HuGE Prevalence Review, Melissa A. Austin, et al.)"
Finland Study HeFh 1:441 in year 1997
Hungary: 1:539 in year 2001
So far with Aegerion's population count I have seen claims, and not evidence. As if … "We have the data, but we're not going to show it to you." Can you post references to your claims of a higher population count? Where can I find publically available data in support of your claimed population count?
No. Founder Effect works as a small group migrates into isolation. The USA is a melting pot. I had more material than I could post for an SA article. I will be posting the material I have on Founder Effect and how it applies, esp. to the study of whites of Danish descent promoted by AEGR. Look for it on my blog later this morning: 3 foot crowbar . com.
There is very little of my own opinion presented. And the issue here is not a legal or a financial one, but the quality and sincerity of RELV as a healthy, nutrition- centered company.
If a pilot is fined a mere $100 while flying drunk, the cheapness of the fine does not eliminate any risks I take in being his passenger. This is not a financial point, but one of quality and safety.
As for “Boilerplate” -- “collapsed bridge ahead” or “smoking causes cancer”, does not eliminate the danger -- just because you see the same standard warning everyday.
Likewise, lead is harmful. Period. Saying so in "boilerplate" would not change that.
>You are being dishonest by insinuating that there are large "civil penalties"<
Where did I insinuate a large penalty? The financial aspect is irrelevant to the question of Reliv’s product quality – especially for a company that claims research and to be nutrition-centered.
“ and a de facto admission of guilt.”
The documents found in the California system settle this matter, not me. I don’t take credit or blame for the number 4 after someone presents 2 + 2. That’s just how it adds up. How does a company bring the lead levels below the limit without implying it had been above it? That’s not my implication, but an implication provided by the documents themselves.
RE: Mr. Freund -- Attorneys get paid, just like everybody else. Big surprise. Consider: Policemen’s and doctor’s financial incentives do not erase the good they do. Proposition 65 has been controversial since its beginning. However, it has lasted more than 20 years and has undeniably resulted in the removal of dangerous substances from the public marketplace. Proposition 65 “bounty hunters,” even if only pursuing their own incentives, have left California a safer place. But ask yourself: Why would it take proposition 65 and litigation for a nutrition centered company to revise its products? How sincere would such a nutrition company be?
As for “dishonesty” -- in my opinion,
1) the stock was pumped … and investors who trusted management’s PR are now at risk.
2) dishonesty is when you present a message that contradicts the underlying fact. What kind of company claims diligent research and nutritious products and then finds itself in this legal position?