Seeking Alpha

Saul Kerpelman

View as an RSS Feed
View Saul Kerpelman's Comments BY TICKER:
Latest comments  |  Highest rated
  • Cancer Vaccines: Northwest Biotherapeutics vs. Dendreon [View article]
    I wrote on my instablog a few days ago about what a fraud this company is and how it's trying to save itself by riding Dendreon's coattails:

    I hope any potential investor will read it before putting any money into this pump and dump. They're trying to steal your money.

    Also might question Seeking Alpha editors why they refused to publish my piece, while letting this junk by Garza go out on the wires.
    Jul 16, 2010. 09:31 AM | 26 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Good News for Dendreon's Provenge [View article]
    Wow, there's such hostility in your voice. I wonder why. Anyway you are way off base. I wasn't saying the 4.1 month MEDIAN was mathematically wrong--only that it far underestimates the true benefit of Provenge. Provenge wasn't compared to guys getting NO treatment (pure placebo), but to guys getting frozen Provenge, which today's news suggests gave its own survival advantage. Men getting NO treatment in the three studies lived 10 months less at median. So although it needs further study, the median survival advantage might be closer to ONE YEAR. And you are also ignoring the meaning of "median"--as above 32% of treated men were still alive at three years--so many men were living years and years longer. "Median" by definition means half the men lived longer than an extra 4.1 months (or 10 months, if that's the true benefit). If it were your Dad, would the chance of his living an extra year or three be worth a one time $93,000 treatment? I thought so. (Which, by the way, is less than some cutting edge chemo regimens) The K-M curves indeed go back together at 5 years because all these men are very old and very sick and eventually die. Do you require that a cancer treatment make 80 year old men live forever? As to individualized therapy I believe you are again very wrong--the company has designed very smooth logistics for treating thousands of men--and the science says NOTHING can beat getting the human body to attack its own cancer. That's the HOLY GRAIL of cancer research and Dendreon has attained it with Provenge.
    Feb 18, 2011. 08:21 AM | 24 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Beyond Provenge: Dendreon Is Too Expensive for Value, Growth Investors [View article]
    There are lots of good facts in your article, but you begin from the faultiest of premises--that a reasonable market cap for Dendreon is 2-2.5 times revenues. Where on earth did you get that figure?

    The tiniest amount of research would show you that Wall Street uses different revenue multiples for early stage, large growth smaller biotechs than for large, established companies. Even Amgen--which you must concede is the model for the biotech world--and which is a mature biotech has a market cap more than 3X revenues.

    Maybe AstraZeneca and Bristol Meyers Squibb trade at 2.5 times revenue, but those are huge behemoths for whom any one drug is going to be a drop in the revenue bucket, and so the companies are assigned lower multiples.

    A much more apt comparison would be Celgene--with a market cap of 26 Billion and revenues of 3.6 Billion. That's a multiplier of better than 7X revenues. Celgene is the best model for Dendreon because Dendreon is explicitly following the same path as Celgene--going it alone globally with a Blockbuster cancer treatment (Revlimid for Celgene)--and Celgene can be conceived of as Dendreon 3 years down the road.

    Had you used the 7X multiplier of course your article would have needed a different headline. Was that the point?

    Using Celgene's multiplier for the maximum revenues you predict for Dendreon would have given Dendreon a market cap of almost 29 Billion--and making Dendreon a screaming buy at its current price.
    Apr 21, 2011. 09:18 AM | 19 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Good News for Dendreon's Provenge [View article]
    I don't think anyone's trying to build a religion. People who know the Dendreon story get frustrated at the laziness of the press in reporting "an extra 4.1 months of life" and in the next breath questioning whether "just 4 months" is worth $93,000, when in fact a man taking Provenge is hoping to be in the large group of treated men who live extra years as a result. These distinctions do make a big difference in perceptions of efficacy and price.
    Feb 18, 2011. 08:37 AM | 19 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dendreon and Provenge: What if We Lived in England? [View article]
    Surprising that a "doctor" doesn't understand the difference between "average" and "median". The median is the halfway point in a series of numbers--so by definition half the men with a survival advantage in the Impact study lived longer than 4.1 extra months. Many lived for years. Eduardo Garcia was one trial subject who allowed the company to publicize that he lived an additional 9 years. Another way of looking at it is that Provenge increased a man's chances of surviving 3 years by a whopping 40%. Even these figures understate the benefit of Provenge in the study because Provenge users were not compared to pure placebo, but to a control group allowed to crossover to frozen Provenge upon progression. Compared to the men who elected not to crossover the treatment group had a 14.2 month survival advantage--the largest survival advantage ever in a late stage cancer trial!!

    Very sloppy article that proceeds from a false premise--that Provenge only "gives an additional 4 months of life". Provenge has the potential to add years to a man's life. Since it works by boosting the immune system it can be expected to work even better in men with earlier stage disease whose immune systems are not yet so compromised as the really sick late stage men in the Impact study.
    There is even the chance--expressed by the docs who ran the trial--that in earlier stage disease Provenge might render prostate cancer a chronic treatable disease and allow its sufferers to die of other causes.

    One thing I know for sure--if I had prostate cancer I wouldn't want you for my doctor.

    Sloppy, superficial work. Shameful.
    Jul 7, 2010. 09:33 AM | 14 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Good News for Dendreon's Provenge [View article]
    I guess you have to back down then, because if you go and read the NEJM article they clearly set this out as the trial design--and they also comment on the fact that the salvage product group lived 14.2 months longer than the pure placebo group.

    Again on the issue of cost, we are not talking about "a few extra months"; we are talking about giving guys the chance to be in the group of treated men who lived extra years.

    By the way, you didn't answer my question whether you would want it for your Dad. It's pretty easy to favor rationing someone else's health care.
    Feb 18, 2011. 10:31 AM | 13 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • No 'Shareholder Uprising' at Dendreon [View article]
    As I set out above I did and do agree that better shareholder communications with management is a good thing--and is in almost every company I have ever invested in. The difference is that what was presented to me initially as a friendly and behind the scenes proposal for a greater voice in company affairs was, without consultation, turned into a media attack suggesting serious problems at the company. I don't think there are serious problems at the company. It has achieved remarkably and is going to continue to do so.
    Apr 4, 2011. 10:56 AM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dendreon: To Short or Not to Short? [View article]
    Wow, did someone pay you to perform this hatchet job, or are you just trying to cover your own short more cheaply by spreading this FUD? Also I would really appreciate it if you could re-post this supposed article from 07 in which you predicted everything exactly as it happened back in 07--can't seem to find it in Seeking archives--but since you "made your bones" with it I am certain you would be delighted to re-post it to support the credibility of the stuff you posted today. I guess if you don't re-post I can just assume that part was a lie and today's article was just FUD. That sound fair to you? OK then. Let's see that earlier article...
    Feb 2, 2010. 09:23 AM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dendreon: Fear is Our Friend [View instapost]
    Doc--The best source of facts is Biotech Stock Research, which is a subscription service. David Miller, the main guy there has been following Dendreon--and presenting the fact suggesting Provenge works--for ten years. The cross over figures and survival benefit are from FDA documents dealing with the approval of Provenge. They are public record, but hard to sift through. My figures came from BSR--but David cited FDA documents.
    Jul 7, 2010. 04:34 PM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dendreon and Provenge: What if We Lived in England? [View article]
    If anyone coming here to read this worthless article cares to read a truthful article about Provenge and Dendreon please see my instablog posted today under the title Dendreon: Fear Is Our Friend.
    Jul 7, 2010. 09:23 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dendreon: Fear is Our Friend [View instapost]
    Also I hope that relatively soon all the Impact data will appear in a major journal (NEJM I'm hoping).
    Jul 7, 2010. 04:36 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Good News for Dendreon's Provenge [View article]
    I can't read your mind, of course, but it doesn't seem to me as if you just want accurate reporting to me, since, for example, you ascribe to me a misrepresentation as to larger percentages of patients achieving multi-year remissions than with other drugs, when I never said that at all. You are the one who began talking down Provenge by suggesting other treatments for other cancers had comparable results. I have in fact limited myself to telling the story of Provenge, and you have come in to comment about "disappointment" as to the Provenge results and the "just 9% difference" between Provenge and placebo survivors--while glaringly ignoring the precise point of the Duke study, that 66% of the "placebo" men received salvage frozen Provenge and may have thereby received a survival benefit. Further, as to this example, you also for some reason choose to slant your "statistics" quote with the 9% figure, when you could just as well have couched it as "the 3 year survival of the treatment arm was 41% better than the placebo arm". Of course you have consistently paid lip-service to wishing Provenge success, but I must say that claim is belied by your slanting of the facts and your setting up a straw man to claim that I am not reporting objectively. Your attacks are subtle, for sure, but still pretty transparent to one who knows the full fact set.

    Just curious--do you deny that succeeding in training the human body to recognize cancer as foreign and to attack it is a major cancer breakthrough that has been sought by researchers for over a hundred years? And that if Dendreon's method to do that can be applied to other cancers, that it will prove to have been a paradigm shifting accomplishment? Nobel prizes likely for its originators?
    Feb 20, 2011. 01:27 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 8 Cult Stocks to Avoid in 2011 [View article]
    More lies about Dendreon, I see. First you didn't "make [your] bones" with the call you cite. In fact, you never made such a call--it's just a lie. Anyone here can check the archived articles and see you predicted both ways for Dendreon so you could claim to be right no matter the outcome.

    Second, the expert panel at CMS voted that Provenge is reasonable and necessary medically and 15 of 15 regional Medicare contractors and all the major private insurers have approved it for reimbursement. You are just seeking hits and there is no substance to what you write.
    Jan 24, 2011. 10:09 AM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • ASCO Data Suggest Dendreon's Provenge Should Go First [View article]
    Oh, so that's your explanation for not printing the facts. Apparently it's plagiarism to report the same publicly available facts as someone else. And I guess David also owns the reasoning that the 18 months it takes for Zytiga to show its trend toward a survival benefit is a reason to prescribe Provenge first, although that reasoning jumps out at any unbiased observer. As to not crediting David, I guess your usual careful reading failed to pick up that the link above is to David's article.

    A better question is why you feel the need to follow me here and continue your uninformed spin for J&J while blocking me on your twitter feed as "the biggest idiot on twitter" because I tried to engage you in discourse?

    You are not a journalist and should stop pretending to be.
    Jun 6, 2012. 09:38 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • No 'Shareholder Uprising' at Dendreon [View article]
    Are you following the story closely, because the company hired Hans Bishop away from Bayer precisely because of his global experience in the areas you cite? So far he seems to be doing a masterful job too. As to owning this "niche" for long, I also disagree. The nearest competitor is years behind. Further, no one else is close to having FDA approval for an active cellular immunotherapy. Provenge is not just about Provenge, it also provides proof of concept for Dendreon's patented Antigen Delivery Cassette technology, which gives them a rich pipeline for developing additional cancer treatments. This year they begin a trial in advanced bladder cancer.
    Apr 4, 2011. 02:38 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment