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I am an American trader and a Vanderbilt University alumnus currently living in San Francisco. I'm mostly interested in income investing using dividends, preferred stocks and other debt instruments, and pair trading. I fundamentally analyze every business from the top down. In my personal life,... More
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  • Eli Lilly: Don't Miss The Next Upswing

    Transparency / Disclaimer: I was compensated modestly by public relations to write this article. While I have vetted each company, researched it thoroughly and I've done my own due diligence, my due diligence is not a substitute for your own.

    Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) is, as compared to several of its competitors in the drug market, doing very well in the present market climate.

    There are a few reasons why I say that. First, while a lot of the company's competitors at the moment are facing problems in terms of rivals to their own drugs, Eli Lilly has had at least one stroke of luck in that regard. A competitor to its blood thinner, Effient, was recentlydenied approval by the FDA. The drug is supposed to prevent heart attacks and strokes in patients with a specific heart ailment. The competing drug, called Xarelto and produced by Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) and Bayer , was denied mostly because there was missing data from the trial. About 1000 test subjects withdrew from the trial and, as a result of this, the FDA decided to vote against the approval of the medication. For now, at least, Eli Lilly will not face competition from that sector. However, it is important to note that this is the decision of an advisory panel for the FDA - the FDA does not have to take this advice, so we will have to wait and see for at least a month what the final decision will be.

    Eli Lilly's competitor, Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), could also benefit from the fact that Johnson & Johnson's drug has not been approved. Essentially this means that Pfizer will be able to continue developing its rival to the drug Xarelto without running the risk of competition from Johnson & Johnson. Another company which benefits for similar reasons is Bristol Meyers Squibb (NYSE:BMY). The drug that these two companies are working on is called Eliquis and will effectively have the same effects as the drug being developed by Johnson & Johnson. The two companies have high hopes for the drug and expect it t be a real blockbuster.

    One hot up and comer to watch is ChromaDex (OTCQX:CDXC), which is a supplier of phytochemical products and ingredients for several industries, including pharmaceuticals, dietary supplement, food and beverage, and cosmetic. The company recently unveiled a new line of dietary supplements, called BluScience, in over 8,000 drug stores across the U.S. The product outperformed forecasted sales by 50% in the first quarter of 2012.

    Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals announced a new drug that has proven to be effective in treating Type 2 Diabetes in African-American patients. This is exactly the kind of news that we look for from a pharmaceutical company - we want to see it not only working on producing new drugs, but also evidence that those drugs are effective. In combination with a specific diet as well as exercise this new drug will be administered to lower the blood sugar level in African-American patients with Type 2 Diabetes.

    If this drug receives approval than Eli Lilly will surely make a significant profit. The positive results come from a "phase-3 trial of Tradjenta (linagliptin) in which 226 patients with Type 2 diabetes received 5 mg of the drug once per day or placebo".

    What makes this trial notable is that it is the first diabetes trial aimed specifically at African-American patients. This is because Eli Lilly identified the need for a close focus on African-Americans who have been significantly underrepresented in most diabetes studies up until now. It is important to see how African-American patients will respond to such medication. The trial successfully demonstrated the two most important features of any drug: its safety for use and its efficacy in treating the illness specified. African-Americans now have another option to turn to for treating diabetes and can rest safe in the knowledge that this treatment is specifically aimed toward helping their community.

    Another notable aspect of the drug is that it "doesn't require adjustments to dosage regardless of declining renal function or hepatic impairment". Once you're on the drug, you are on it and no changes will need to be made at any point during your treatment.

    So, Eli Lilly is making progress in the drug arena, something which a number of its competitors still need to catch up with if they are to make a significant difference to the market. As things stand, Eli Lilly is one of the better stock options in the pharmaceutical arena at present.

    However, there is one problem facing Eli Lilly. GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK)will soon announce the results of late stage trials of a diabetes drug of its own that may well be a huge competitor for the company's own drug. Other companies that will most likely suffer if GlaxoSmithKline's drug is effective and approved are Amylin Pharmaceuticals (AMLN),Novo Nordisk A/S, and Sanofi Aventis (NYSE:SNY). This drug will most likely be a niche drug. At this point results are mixed and there is a long way to go until approval is achieved.

    Everyone is in the race to create cancer treatments that will revolutionize medicine. At this point, it seems to me that Sanofi is one of the companies that is closest to achieving this. The company recently announced that it would soon begin testing a new drug that literally starved liver cancer cells to death. The trials will begin next year. The drug will mostly be aimed at the emerging Chinese market where 10% of the population has liver cancer. If it is a successful drug then this hug consumer sector could drastically improve Sanofi Aventis's revenue.

    AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) was in the news recently for its collaborative efforts with scientists to find a way to stop drug-related liver injuries. This is something that is of growing concern and is also the main reason behind liver failure and transplants. Drugs that have even small effects on the liver tend to be denied. In many cases, however, the true effects are not realized until after the drug has been marketed, a situation that AstraZeneca is working toward changing as soon as possible by being instrumental in developing new techniques and tools for determining the effects of drugs on the liver well ahead of time.

    Eli Lilly looks poised to rise and stay up for this quarter and possibly beyond. My recommendation is to get in while the getting is good.

    May 29 11:08 AM | Link | Comment!
  • Social Media Investing: 4 Ways To Make Money Now

    Passionate social media users can make a few extra bucks a month just by doing what they do naturally. With Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) doing a nationwide IPO Roadshow, investors and users alike are looking for a way to cash in on the new digital landscape.

    Social sharing sites and microblogs are quickly taking over. From Twitter to Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) to new kid on the block, Pinterest, sharing is becoming the status quo of most online users.

    However, you don't need Ashton Kutcher's over two million followers to make a little extra money. Users who share the most in this new landscape will reap many rewards. All that's required is passion for something, a small following and a penchant for telling your friends about it.

    What's attractive about using social media sites is that the number of revenue streams opens up significantly. While websites and blogs in the past could only do banner ads and some affiliate marketing, all of their revenue had to come from a website or websites which take a lot of maintenance. Now, you can go well beyond that. Use whatever tools you post to regularly. If you want to add more revenue streams, it's as simple as signing up to a new service. Social media sharing is also easier than maintaining a website or blog if you aren't a writer, and more natural, too.

    Before you get started, let's go over some of the ways you can make extra cash online.


    This is the tried-and-true approach to making money online. If you have a website, getting started is fairly simple. Because online ads have been around for a relatively long time in Internet years, Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) AdSense has it down to a science. It's easy to match up keywords to your own website's SEO so that your users are only seeing relevant ads. You can also run tests to see which ad keywords are performing best or update keywords to go with the hot topic of the day.

    Gone are the days when you had to put up ads from random sponsors with headache inducing images. However, you may need a bigger following for this to work as advertising programs now require more clicks before you get paid. One little known trick is to select both text and image ads on the Adsense interface so that more ad contributors bid on your ad space. As a result, your pay per click will likely be higher than if you select text or image ads alone.

    Affiliate Marketing

    Less proactive but ironically more direct is affiliate marketing. The basic gist is that you get a cut from what your users buy at the affiliate's store. It's like your working on commission without all the hassle of wrangling customers in the storefront.

    One of the most well known affiliate marketing schemes is AmazonAssociates. Through this program, you can set up a virtual store front on your website for users to peruse, or link directly to products through pages or blog posts. You can even make money from tweets and Facebook shares of products. Other affiliate marketing programs involve getting paid for email sign ups, clicks, surveys, etc. Choose a program that works best for you and your users.

    The advantage of affiliate programs over advertising are two-fold: first, advertisers like it because they only have to pay for actual conversions (buys, clicks, sign ups) rather than just for the privilege of being on your website; second, website owners can more easily customize the products they promote to their niche increasing their sales.


    What if you don't have a website but a Tumblr or a popular Twitter account? Seeking out sponsorships will be your best bet. It can also be a good addition to the more traditional online revenue streams.

    The attraction of sponsorship is that you don't need an enormous following to get immediate results. Striking a deal with a good brand you already use can get you $1 to $5 per post. Your followers will already trust your opinion so it's a good deal for advertisers, too.

    And the possibilities are only limited to the social media tools you use: reviewing a product or even showing how it works on YouTube; sharing photos of a product in use on Twitter or Pinterest; writing a blog post about a new product version, etc. Getting more creative with your promotion will increase sales and build trust with both the advertiser and your users.

    Buying Stock

    Lastly, why not buy stock in the companies that offer the services and tools you use so much? LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD), Zynga, Instagram and Yelp (NYSE:YELP) are just a few of the companies that are making headway in the new digital landscape.

    A company like, Izea (OTCQB:IZEA), seemingly does it all. As a niche marketing firm that does more than just advertising, Izea offers a large menu of services for brands and social media influencers alike - including everything I mentioned above!

    If you're serious about online marketing or if you're just a hobbyist, the online world has opened up so many more opportunities for you to make your passions profitable.

    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

    Tags: GOOG, ZNGA, LNKD, FB
    May 10 12:58 PM | Link | 4 Comments
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