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Thoth

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  • MannKind: Are These Top Big Pharma Companies Potential Partners? [View article]
    Kudos to PA for a thoughtful and thought provoking article. It exposes the poor quality of most other articles written on MNKD. Most of those seem to be the same (sometimes inaccurate) talking points over and over.

    One counter intuitive idea, though: I wonder if there is a forward-thinking and brave enough executive at either Lilly or Novo that realizes that the best way to protect their diabetes franchises is to ensure they have a stake in the potential successor drug(s). It's definitely a long shot that they are thinking this way, but it's far better to cannibalize yourself than to allow a potential outsider to attack your entire franchise.
    Jul 15, 2014. 05:46 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The 27-1 AdCom Votes Have So Many Positive Implications For MannKind [View article]
    It reminds me of that old joke: "the theory is correct, it's reality that's all screwed up." I'm not sure why no one at the FDA gets the impact of Afrezza on the old A1c paradigm. At the very least, have they never heard of a distribution? A broad distribution with high maxs / low mins can lead to a seemingly much better "average" than a tight distribution with moderate maxs and mins. I don't think any doctor would claim the former is better than the latter for diabetes control, though.
    Apr 14, 2014. 03:37 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Accompanying Laffer's and Moore's thesis about taxes and migration in the WSJ is an interview with demographer Joel Kotkin about California, which has lost nearly 4M people in 20 years. Kotkin blames high taxes, real-estate prices - due to restrictions - and energy costs, due to green policies that also preclude the development of 25B barrels of shale oil.  [View news story]
    Trying to measure what the net gain / loss states get from federal tax dollars is a rather complicated issue, and a real analysis isn't very conducive to catchy sound bites. Depending on which items you include / exclude and how you cut the data, states move around quite a bit. For example, one of the biggest drivers of tax contributed is where companies happen to be HQ'ed, because their federal tax payments are counted based on this location, even though their economic activity is scattered around the country and sometimes even the world.
    Apr 22, 2012. 02:58 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Delivering a harsh rebuke to Goldman Sachs (GS), Sequoia Fund says it plans to vote against GS director and former Fannie Mae CEO James Johnson and urges other shareholders to do the same. “Mr. Johnson has been at the center of several egregious corporate governance debacles,” the Sequoia letter says.  [View news story]
    Regardless of whether you are a bull or bear, conservative or liberal, I think one can safely say corporate governance in the US is basically broken at most companies. It's unbelievable that someone with Johnson's record is even being considered for a board position at any financial services institution, let alone GS. What in the world was GS thinking? Are they seriously saying that they can't find someone at least as qualified to serve on their board? If they can't press charges against Fannie and Freddie execs, they should at least ban all of them from being able to work in the FS industry for life.
    Apr 19, 2012. 11:52 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Realtors nationwide report cancellations of existing home sale contracts have hit 20%, far above the historical norm of 4%-6%, a rate Diana Olick considers "shocking and does not suggest a rebound on the horizon." It's not just the inability of some to get a mortgage; bigger issues are failed inspections, appraisals, buyers with cold feet and adverse economic conditions.  [View news story]
    The scariest thing about DC is that it is now the wealthiest metropolitan area in the US, displacing Silicon Valley in the #1 spot. I can't think of a more troubling indicator for the US right now.
    Dec 5, 2011. 07:28 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Piper's Gene Munster surveyed 25 technology directors in U.S. school districts, and found all of them to be testing or deploying the iPad (AAPL). He adds that while the districts currently have 10 students per PC, they're expected to have 6 students per iPad. 64% of directors said managing iPads was a challenge, but only 20% were concerned about cost. (previously)  [View news story]
    Of course only 20% were concerned about the cost. It's not their money.
    Oct 31, 2011. 09:48 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Piper's Gene Munster surveyed 25 technology directors in U.S. school districts, and found all of them to be testing or deploying the iPad (AAPL). He adds that while the districts currently have 10 students per PC, they're expected to have 6 students per iPad. 64% of directors said managing iPads was a challenge, but only 20% were concerned about cost. (previously)  [View news story]
    I'm frankly amazed at this report - why are people always looking for a technological solution to education? Research has shown over and over again that the single biggest driver of student performance is the teacher. The only thing most schools should be spending money on is improving teacher performance, not deploying the latest gadgets.
    Oct 31, 2011. 02:56 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Geithner’s comments that there is “absolutely” no chance that another U.S. financial institution would fail is music to Bank of America (BAC +6%), Morgan Stanley (MS +3.8%) and other bank stocks (XLF +1.4%). “The direct exposure of the U.S. financial system to the countries under the most pressure in Europe is very modest," the Secretary says.  [View news story]
    This is one of the most misleading statements ever: the direct exposure might be modest, but it's the indirect exposure that is worrisome. All these banks are likely linked through some tangled web of derivatives to the PIIGS. One can only guess what time bombs are waiting to go off if they are ever triggered among the US banks.
    Oct 6, 2011. 02:32 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dendreon: The Challenge Of Misinformation [View article]
    Paul: First, thanks for the interesting information that you provided. Setting aside all the investment issues, I find Provenge pretty fascinating as a potential new paradigm for the treatment of cancer, and it was good to learn of some of the other options that are coming down the pipeline. A couple clarifying questions for you:

    You mention the cost issue with Provenge, but it seems to me that this decision shouldn't be a direct factor if insurance plans have indicated that they are willing to cover this treatment. Now, whether you or any individual patient personally agrees with the pricing of the drug is a different issue, but as long as insurance is willing to cover it, doesn't this take cost out of the equation for the vast majority of potential patients and their families? I would find it difficult to imagine that anyone would be willing to turn down Provenge if he was eligible for treatment and insurance was willing to cover it, even if he had doubts about efficacy, especially since there are few serious side effects.

    At what stage of clinical testing are some of the other treatments that you mentioned? I'd like to learn some more, but wanted to see how early stage they actually were.
    Sep 2, 2011. 07:33 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dendreon: The Challenge Of Misinformation [View article]
    Robert: what you are saying seems to make sense at face value, but your line of reasoning is violated all the time in medicine and even science in general. As Dr. Alvarez has pointed out, lots of drugs are used every day where the exact MoA is unknown. A few more examples for you: modafinil, rivastigmine tartrate, and acetaminophen (otherwise known as Tylenol). That's right, no one really knows how Tylenol works! Even in science, the exact MoA is unknown for a lot of phenomena, e.g., superconductivity. It doesn't mean that people can't take advantage of it, though.
    Aug 30, 2011. 12:12 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • How to Beat 99% of Investment Managers [View instapost]
    Thank you for the interesting article. One question that I had when you calculated the returns from a buy and hold vs. rules-based strategy: did you factor into account taxes at all? I've heard that the alpha for many trading strategies actually looks much worse once tax implications are taken into account.
    Apr 25, 2011. 10:18 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Truth About the U.S. Housing Market [View article]
    A few comments here:
    First, thanks for taking the time to put together such a well written article. It's definitely a cut above the normal stuff that I see on SA.

    Second, the issue of restrictive land use planning being a major factor in real estate pricing isn't new. Professor Glaeser at Harvard University has written a lot on this topic, and has made the same comments regarding the US housing bubble.

    Third, people keep mentioning geographic limitations as an explanatory variable for ever increasing prices in certain markets. The question is not are prices high, but rather what is the relative gap between prices and the cost of building additional supply. Whenever you have a major gap between the two, something else must be driving the market. Builders should be rushing in to make money if prices are much higher than the cost of additional supply.

    Last, but not least, while I think land use regulations are a major factor for real estate prices, this does not mean that they are the only factor that matters. In fact, looking at the S-D curves should make this clear. Inelastic supply by itself would not be a problem unless you had changes to demand. Many of the other factors people are describing are affecting the D side of this equation, which then interacts with the inelastic supply to create bubble pricing.
    Jan 7, 2011. 04:04 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
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