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  • LipoScience Nearly Back To Square One [View article]
    This is the study that the CEO referred to during the last quarterly call:

    Cardiovascular Risk in Patients Achieving Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol and Particle Targets
    Peter P. Toth, MD, PhDemail, Michael Grabne, PhD, Rajeshwari S. Punekar, PhD, Ralph A. Quimbo, MA, Mark J. Cziraky, PharmD, Terry A. Jacobson, MD
    Received: February 18, 2014; Received in revised form: April 30, 2014; Accepted: May 1, 2014; Published Online: May 21, 2014

    Publication stage: In Press Accepted Manuscript

    • Real-world claims data were used to compare CVD risk across LDL-P and LDL-C thresholds.
    • The risk of a CVD event increased by 4% for each 100 nmol/L increase in LDL-P level.
    • Patients with LDL-P <1000 nmol/L received more aggressive lipid-lowering therapy than patients with LDL-C <100 mg/dL.
    • These differences in lipids and therapeutic management were associated with a reduction in CVD events in the LDL-P cohort.
    Previous research suggests that LDL particle number (LDL-P) may be a better tool than LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) to guide LDL-lowering therapy. Using real-world data, this study has two objectives: (1) to determine the incidence of CHD across LDL-P thresholds; and (2) to compare CHD/stroke events among patients achieving comparably low LDL-P or LDL-C levels.

    A claims analysis was conducted among high-risk patients identified from the HealthCore Integrated Research DatabaseSM. The impact of LDL levels on risk was compared across cohorts who achieved LDL-P <1000 nmol/L or LDL-C <100 mg/dL. Cohorts were matched to balance demographic and comorbidity differences.

    Among 15,569 patients with LDL-P measurements, the risk of a CHD event increased by 4% for each 100 nmol/L increase in LDL-P level (HR 1.04; 95% CI 1.02–1.06, p<.0001). The comparative analysis included 2,094 matched patients with ≥12 months of follow-up, 1,242 with ≥24 months and 705 with ≥36 months. At all time periods, patients undergoing LDL-P measurement were more likely to receive intensive lipid-lowering therapy and had a lower risk of CHD/stroke than those in the LDL-C cohort (HR: 0.76; 95% CI: 0.61-0.96; at 12 months).

    In this real-world sample of commercially insured patients, higher LDL-P levels were associated with increased CHD risk. Moreover, high-risk patients who achieved LDL-P <1000 nmol/L received more aggressive lipid-lowering therapy than patients achieving LDL-C <100 mg/dL, and these differences in lipids and therapeutic management were associated with a reduction in CHD/stroke events over 12, 24 and 36 months follow-up.

    Open Access
    Jun 5, 2014. 04:31 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • LipoScience's CEO Discusses Q4 2013 Results - Earnings Call Transcript [View article]
    Impression: Stability with new CEO who has past successful Cytec track record to invigorate the sales of new superior product in existing market of widespread use of cholesterol diagnostic. Additional prospective diabetes diagnostic and increasing use of high volume Ventura system placement should help. Continuing work is required to stabilize and increase HMO and insurance payments. Positive endorsements from cardiology and diabetes organizations, prospective favorable publications in peer reviewed journals and sales contacts with payors should also help. Slightly down upcoming first quarter impacted by severe weather. Not highlighted, however, first sales from California with placement of Ventura system at Scripps and transition to broadening markets from what has been a regional East Coast lab should provide significant upside operating leverage. Cash available eliminates need to raise additional funds in the near future and gross margins remain a healthy 78%. Disclosure: I own LPDX shares and will continue to do so.
    Mar 11, 2014. 01:57 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • StealthGas: Is It Time To Buy This Growing Shipping Company? [View article]
    Shorting by Novel? Similar plots and novels could be written about any capital asset: commercial airplanes, building for rent, refineries and likely have been. Markets, whether in ships or shares go up and down. If we only knew when! Given the reported 100 year supply of natural gas in the US and its resultant low relative price to other forms of energy, it is rapidly replacing coal, nuclear and renewable energy. Factors unique to the US, such as land and mineral ownership rights, a large, well-educated and trained oil and gas industry and prolific petroleum shales holding oil and natural gas, the revolution in fracking and horizontal drilling is not easily transferred elsewhere. LPG is generally separated from natural gas at processing plants near the producing fields. Thus, the supply of US LPG is expected to grow substantially with natural gas production. While natural gas can be readily marketed in the US, the capital costs and time required to build export liquefaction facilities and LNG tankers are far greater than LPG export terminals or LPG ships. Oil and refined oil products can and are economically shipped, but their unit energy costs are some 4 times higher than natural gas. US Gulf Coast LPG prices have roughly averaged 40% of crude oil prices. US LPG prices in turn have averaged $1/gallon lower than European LPG prices. The US still imports about 8 million barrels of crude a day and prohibits the export of US crude, but not the exports of refined petroleum products or LPG. Major bottlenecks in US LPG export facilities are being cleared up now. Will these developing economics be reflected in the economics of LPG ship owners and operators? Different opinions are what make markets.
    Dec 28, 2013. 04:26 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • LipoScience Has Become Too Cheap To Ignore [View article]
    1. Shares could head lower due to tax loss selling and trading volume allowing such sales being far higher than for a long time. Probably temporary conditions due to recent company presentation which suggested that while steps were being taken to correct poor past strategy, the impact wouldn't be felt in the next quarter or two. OTOH, the basic opportunity is still there and long term holders may buy on any further drop. The trading volume probably remains an impediment to large investors who might otherwise be interested. This is somewhat a catch 22 since market development is expensive.
    2. Surprised that there was no bullet point slide presentation with company strategy explained, but takeaway was essentially:
    a. Potential market is 78 million first time users. (Present sales circa 2 million uses at roughly $25 to $28 each test).
    b. Managed Care Providers, representing largest percentage of potential users and each has to be sold essentially individually.
    3. LPDX is working on a peer reviewed publication hopefully in early 2014 that will help increase demand from doctors.
    4. The sales force has been essentially completely retooled and expanded.
    My takeaway: The company would seemingly present a hugely attractive acquisition for a larger diagnostic company, but the question would remain as to what a premium would have to be offered to acquire a sufficient number of shares when the market is still relatively illiquid. If the company can ignite some sales, the price and premium would escalate.
    Except for tax loss selling, LPDX is still a hold to wait and see.
    Dec 7, 2013. 12:33 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • LipoScience Has Become Too Cheap To Ignore [View article]
    Medicare already covers the test. See also the following:

    Clinical Implications of Discordance Between LDL Cholesterol
    and LDL Particle Number
    Real-World Data Presented At AHA Scientific Sessions Demonstrate Relationship Between Low-Density Lipoprotein Particle (LDL-P) Number And Future Risk Of Coronary Heart Disease
    LipoScience Announces New Data Supporting High-Density Lipoprotein Particle (HDL-P) Number As Marker Of Cardiovascular Risk
    JUPITER study data published in Circulation, suggest HDL-P may be a better marker of residual risk than HDL cholesterol or apolipoprotein A-1 in patients on statin therapy
    American Association Of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) Endorses Measurement Of Low-Density Lipoprotein Particle (LDL-P) Number
    Consensus Statement Validates LDL-P Measurement by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) in Patients with Diabetes to Reduce Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
    Analysis Demonstrates Cost-Effectiveness Of Managing Low-Density Lipoprotein Particle Number To Reduce Cardiovascular Disease Risk
    Dec 1, 2013. 07:18 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • LipoScience Has Become Too Cheap To Ignore [View article]
    The biggest factors may be California, LPDX's Ventura high capacity processing system and the outcomes guidelines of Medicare and Obamacare. The cost of the processing system has never been disclosed, but one can estimate a few hundred thousand dollars without recovery of development or training costs. Only a competitive processing lab would purchase such a system, and they pay a lower unit royalty to LPDX than internal testing. The North Carolina LPDX lab's higher service fees were a short term figment of introductory conditions and smaller geographical markets. The changeover was and is destined to produce a plateau of growth as markets expand and higher volumes at lower royalties prevail. California regulations effectively prohibited third party mark-ups of tests done out of state, so LPDX had no sales in one of the largest markets. In addition, there is an indirect chemical test that can give the same LDL-P information to supplement normal cholesterol testing, which the big labs can provide. If the Ventura system can provide their Cardio and Diabetes panels and the TMAO test licensed from the Cleveland Clinic competitively, especially in California, and over time prove that it enhances a patient's health and longevity, they will be big winners under developing regulatory outcome guidelines. Signing up the highly regarded Scripps Hospitals in California for a Ventura system is an important step in that direction.
    Disclosure: I have no relation with LPDX but own underwater shares.
    Nov 29, 2013. 12:16 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • New Study: EPA Reduces Cardiovascular Events - Enough For Amarin Approval? [View article]
    Common variants associated with plasma triglycerides and risk for coronary artery disease
    Triglycerides are transported in plasma by specific triglyceride-rich lipoproteins; in epidemiological studies, increased triglyceride levels correlate with higher risk for coronary artery disease (CAD). However, it is unclear whether this association reflects causal processes. We used 185 common variants recently mapped for plasma lipids (P < 5 × 10−8 for each) to examine the role of triglycerides in risk for CAD. First, we highlight loci associated with both low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and triglyceride levels, and we show that the direction and magnitude of the associations with both traits are factors in determining CAD risk. Second, we consider loci with only a strong association with triglycerides and show that these loci are also associated with CAD. Finally, in a model accounting for effects on LDL-C and/or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels, the strength of a polymorphism's effect on triglyceride levels is correlated with the magnitude of its effect on CAD risk. These results suggest that triglyceride-rich lipoproteins causally influence risk for CAD
    Oct 29, 2013. 11:56 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • StealthGas: Sinking Or Just Leaking? [View article]
    A Danish shipping company, Evergas, apparently has all LPG shipping out of Marcus Hook, Pa to Europe (Norway) all tied up. However, while far larger export volumes (total 100 mm tons +/ year) from the Enterprise LPG and Targa LPG export facilities in Mont Belvieu and Galena Park, Texas to Europe and the Far East will use larger ships, the companies expect that the majority of exports will be to Mexico and South America where smaller ships can be better. In any event, the substantial addition of favorably priced US LPG exports should gradually increase LPG shipping rates for a wide range of LPG ship sizes. I hope that we are all right.
    Aug 23, 2013. 03:02 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Introducing The New 'Scariest Jobs Chart Ever' [View article]
    The job creation problem goes beyond US borders and is a macroeconomic , largely unrelated to intra US adjustments, such as Obamacare, The technology revolutions have increased efficiency, especially in service industries, an important part of the US economy, while global trade has moved basic low technology jobs offshore to the lowest bidder Shale gas, abundantly available and presently competing mainly with coal, hasn't been a winner that shale oil has been. The oil majors missed the domestic shale oil boat. Since the US is still importing 6 million+ barrels a day at $100+ a barrel, there is still a lot for imported oil substitution, a huge plus for the US economy. How all of this works oout is anybody's guess.
    Aug 12, 2013. 10:54 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Bakken Update: Investment Trends In The Bakken's First Quarter Of 2013 [View article]
    Your thoughts on WPX's Niobrara (Lower Mancos) Shale in the Piceance Basin?
    Thanks for your consistently valuable analyses.
    May 19, 2013. 10:35 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Position Yourself For Big Returns In The Stem Cell Space: Jason Kolbert [View article]
    To which I might add: diversification outside of biotech, no margin, a CEO willing to be painfully honest when and if necessary (note how many biotech CEOs walk after failure with millions), and companies willing to disclose marketing pre-approval FDA manufacturing inspection Form 483 results (non disclosure has burnt many even after good Phase 3 results. As an alternative, there's always Las Vegas.
    May 15, 2013. 01:55 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Amarin & Celsion: Post-Earnings Roundup [View article]
    I follow AMRN but have not been a buyer or seller since there's a long way down from a billion dollar market cap but a successful add-on drug to a statin, especially if supported by additional studies and Medicare is a multi-billion dollar drug, competitive fish oil or not. The pricing of long term put call spreads with a bias toward the upside might seem attractive now. Opinions?
    May 15, 2013. 12:29 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Bakken: 'Deep' Revolution Underway - Everything Investors Need To Know [View article]
    Thanks for a very interesting write-up. There has been some discussion by companies operating in the Eagle Ford concerning other stacked shales but nothing like the TF's commentary in the Bakken. Does this imply that the relative value of Eagle Ford to Bakken plays should be reconsidered?
    May 13, 2013. 11:58 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • SmithOnStocks Opines On Recent Biotech News [View article]
    Mr. Smith. I admire your detailed writing, patience and calm composure in the headwinds of the FDA's Phase 3 roulette wheel, dilutive financings, and the proclivity of too many biotech managers to limit full disclosure while enjoying fat salaries, cheap options and shares and docile Boards appointed to be CEO fan clubs. I wish you all the best.
    May 13, 2013. 11:00 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Position Yourself For Big Returns In The Stem Cell Space: Jason Kolbert [View article]
    Fascinating discussion, which I am sure just touches upon development work with stem cells (see also, Douglas Melton of Harvard in betatrophin in diabetes, Duke Univ. in osteo-arthritis, NCI work in stem T cells in adoptive cell therapy). However, I am unsure the "Position yourself...." proposes any direction. Ultimately each company thrives or perishes on the outcome of Phase 3 studies, and, as many companies recently were reminded, their COGS and product market reception. How does an investor pick from among the maze?
    May 13, 2013. 10:43 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment