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Saul Kerpelman  

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  • Dendreon: The Big Push on Provenge Begins [View article]
    Great article, Larry. I think you should also point out that the Dendreon plants to manufacture Provenge are atypical in another way as well: Cost. Where the usual recombinant protein plant can cost hundreds of millions and, as you say, take years to build and get approved, Provenge "factories" are really just warehouses with dozens of drop in, standard lab "clean rooms", and cost somewhere between 50 and 70 million total, depending on the number of work stations or "hoods" (in biotech parlance). Then each cheap factory can produce Billions worth of product for years.

    I have heard rumors for the past year about future plants in the Chicago area and in Texas. Do you have any information on this?
    Feb 22, 2011. 01:35 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Good News for Dendreon's Provenge [View article]
    Sorry if you perceive me as attacking your character. I'm not. I don't even know you. What I am questioning is your slant against Provenge. I'm not attacking Matt Herper either--it's a fact however that his articles are not reliable regarding Provenge. As I said, I have personally heard the author present the data and he was enthusiastically supportive of Provenge. My point is that I suspect Mr. Herper did not report everything the doc said to him--selectively quoting what agreed with Herper's agenda.
    Feb 21, 2011. 07:36 PM | 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
  • Good News for Dendreon's Provenge [View article]
    I don't think my interpretation is different than the author's--I never said a greater effect was proven, only that it looks to be likely. I also happen to have been at the CMS panel hearing and heard the author speak on behalf of Provenge and announce that they had submitted their results to ASCO. He was a very enthusuastic speaker on behalf of Provenge and seemed very excited that his results suggested even greater benefit for patients. I also am very aware that Matthew Herper has been negative on Provenge for about ten years now--almost to the point of violating journalistic ethics to give a negative bent to the Provenge story. The day before the Impact data were released he ran a story claiming that a study investigator had told him the study was going to fail. Shortly thereafter he changed the story to read "an expert". Of course then Impact unequivocally hit. He still always reports on Provenge now with the bitter sting of having been wrong about a major breakthrough treatment for ten years. Sooo--I wouldn't be quick to think that Herper is a trustworthy source for a quote from the study's author.
    Feb 20, 2011. 01:07 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Good News for Dendreon's Provenge [View article]
    Yes, as above the expectation is that it will work even better in earlier stage disease. The company is running trials in earlier stages and just announced in January that they will be starting a new global study in M1 in the near future along with their European expansion plans.
    Feb 19, 2011. 01:27 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Good News for Dendreon's Provenge [View article]
    But of course your disappointment is based upon the faulty premise that the absolute limit of Provenge's life extension is 4.1 months--which any true scientist would realize is just blind "statistical purity" rigidity such as denied Provenge to dying men (including your Dad?) who could have had the treatment 3 years ago. Why do you also discount the treatment as a breakthrough? Provenge validates the approach and the company is starting a trial in bladder cancer. Seems like maybe you have some anti-Provenge agenda.
    Feb 19, 2011. 01:24 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Good News for Dendreon's Provenge [View article]
    Sure. Provenge is expected by just about everyone involved to work even better in earlier stage disease. The men studied so far were the sickest of the sick and already had severely compromised immune systems. Still it was able to extend life for the largest amount ever in late stage disease. There is every reason to expect that it will have even more effect in men with stronger immune systems to prime. I believe one strong reason for the CMS review was to establish that Medicare won't have to pay for Provenge off label, which scores of men are going to want. I do hope Dendreon works with EXEL on combination therapies--but I expect that given its very benign side effect profile Provenge will soon be baseline therapy.
    Feb 19, 2011. 01:18 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Good News for Dendreon's Provenge [View article]
    Yes, but the "placebo" group was not that at all--it was 66% men who received frozen Provenge, which the new data suggests gave its own survival advantage. Check out how many men in the placebo group in the 9901 study made it to three years: One. It's funny you would use that standing on a chair analogy, when you're persisting in ignoring that the men in the "placebo" group were "standing on the chair" of frozen Provenge. The true benefit of Provenge is looking like somewhere around 10 or 11 months. That's not big to you?
    Feb 19, 2011. 01:10 PM | 2 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Dendreon and Provenge: What if We Lived in England? [View article]
    Your post is just FUD. Provenge is FDA approved and has extended survival in 3 different phase three studies and has now been reported in the NEJM. ASCO, in its public comment to the CMS has strongly endorsed coverage. 14 of 15 local Medicare contractors have decided to cover Provenge. The "hurt the placebo group" argument has been thoroughly debunked as total anonymous nonsense by those in the know.
    Aug 10, 2010. 11:09 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Dendreon Update [View instapost]
    Come on Bernie, the shares are far from "languishing" at 38. They are up in just over a month from 25 and you know as well as I do that they are likely to continue a steady climb upwards as more capacity comes online and as revenues continue to grow.

    As to "cure" I still don't get why you're so worked up about my continuing to truthfully point out, as have the researchers, that there is that prospect for the future. Is it wishful thinking? Sure! But it's also the icing on the cake of an FDA approved treatment for prostate cancer that has shown the largest survival advantage ever in this disease. The latter is the basis for my large investment, not the former. Still, I don't blind myself to future possibilities.

    Do you know of any other approved cancer treatments in which the researchers have stated publicly that if they were given at an earlier stage they might cure the disease? Because I don't. And even if it's just a possibility, it's still something for the market to put a value upon and for investors to consider in making their decisions.

    It's hot here in Baltimore too.
    Aug 10, 2010. 11:01 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dendreon Update [View instapost]
    Hi Bernie--
    I don't really know what you mean by "WORDS that have no basis in fact". I have never said that there was a clinical trial that established Provenge as a cure for cancer in earlier stage disease--although as you well know many men in the Impact study were in fact "cured" depending on how one defines "cure". Is it 5 year survival? Many men had that. Is it living long enough in spite of a prognosis of 18 months to live, to die from something else? That was true for many men in the Impact trial also. Is it clearing all cancer from the body? Again, many men in Impact had that result.

    Do you dispute that Dr. Ferarri said at the analysts day a few years ago that she expected it to work even better in earlier stage, healthier immune systems and that it might prove to be a cure? I did hear her say that with my own ears.

    We are discussing prospects and for some reason it seems to bother you that a true--as yet not proven prospect--for Provenge is to cure cancer in earlier stage disease.

    Not proven yet, but it may be proven in the future. People do invest based upon prospects.

    Why do you object to that?

    P.S.--How's the weather in Spain today?
    Aug 10, 2010. 09:37 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment