Biotech and Pharma

Can Valeant make a comeback?

Jim Grant's 2014 warning on Valeant comes true
Jim Grant's 2014 warning on Valeant comes true
Jim Grant on Fed's move
Jim Grant on Fed's move

Pharma woes continue to gnaw at investors amid the recent tumble in Valeant Pharmaceuticals' stock.

Valeant filed an unaudited earnings report for the fourth quarter Tuesday in place of its annual comprehensive overview amid a Securities and Exchange Commission probe. The preliminary earnings and forward guidance report did not soothe investor concerns, however, as the pharmaceutical company warned that the delayed filing may drive it to default risk.

The news sent its shares into a downward spiral resulting in more than 50 percent loss on Tuesday.

Longtime bear Jim Grant told CNBC's "Closing Bell" on Wednesday that while the company has very light debt obligations, it has an "existential threat to solvency" due to its accounting procedures and lack of filling.

Still, activist investor Bill Ackman released a note Tuesday in effort to reassure investors. The billionaire founder and CEO of hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management said that his fund will assume a "more proactive role at the company to protect and maximize the value of [its] investment," adding that Steve Fraidin, Pershing Square's chairman, joined the Valeant board last week.

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In the same line, ValueAct's Jeff Ubben told CNBC on Monday that Valeant CEO Michael Pearson is "incredibly driven" and smart.

"He's a great problem solver and we're solving problems as we speak — as the model changes and shifts," Ubben said.

Still, Grant doubts that management can turnaround the stock, and is sticking to his bearish position.

"The overall business model was more than dubious, and now it's actually shattered," he said.

Stocks rose Wednesday as the Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged and cut its forecast for interest rate hikes this year. Valeant climbed slightly but is down 67 percent year to date.

Grant thinks more clarity is needed on Fed rhetoric. He previously told CNBC that the central bank will backtrack on its decision to raise rates and he defended his position Wednesday.

He added that the economy does not need some inflation, contending that when wages "hold their own against falling prices, that's called progress."

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In this vein, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said at a news conference on Wednesday that the FOMC's baseline expectations remain the same.

"I think they are pulling back, certainly, from the mooted four times this year," Grant said. "More than once in our recent economic past the Fed has been behind the times; in fact, it makes rather a practice with that."