As all eyes remain on Capitol Hill, things remain relatively quiet on the biopharma front. So, it's a good time to go through the Pharma's Market mailbag. The overwhelming majority of emails recently have been about...yeah, you guessed it...Dendreon.
Derek Petrak shares that he lost his shirt on 80,000 shares of Dendreon after the Food and Drug Administration surprisingly refused to approve the prostate cancer drug Provenge last year. But he's back for more with what he claims is 5,000 shares. "Provenge, it works," Petrak writes. "Proving it, well that's a whole different ballgame. But I'm still placing my bets on DNDN." Bets is the operative word there.
An anonymous emailer asks, "WHY is DNDN posting NEW jobs on their website?? Is that a stock that is going to announce negative news?" First of all, the caps are the writer's emphasis. Second, I have no idea why Dendreon is posting new jobs. But, hey, if you want to make investment decisions based on internet job openings, go right ahead. It's your money. Again, sometime this month DNDN is expected to announce whether interim results of a key Provenge study are strong enough to seek FDA approval again.
Robert Sylianteng wrote in about my post suggesting that a recent rally in DNDN shares was fueled by investors who got spooked by the government's crackdown on short-selling, especially the naked kind. He didn't think it makes sense since the prohibition affected 700-plus stocks with ties to the financial sector. Sylianteng argued, "Dendreon and others are therefore not subject to this SEC Prohibition. The Dendreon shorts can very well have bought long to cover, or engage in other options strategies to cover any naked shorts."
An unidentified reader questions the poll we did asking if ImClone Chairman Carl Icahn might have been bluffing about the mystery $70-a-share bidder. "Wouldn't a 'bluff' be illegal per say (sic)? That doesn't mean an (sic) transaction will occur but I would think Carl as Chairman would be prevented from making a false statement like that. From your question could the Chairman of Taser come out tomorrow and say 'We have a buyer at $100'? I don't think so." Icahn and IMCL haven't identified the secret admirer, but The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times quote sources who say it's Eli Lilly. And the market seems skepitcal that it's a $70 offer because the stock is hovering around 65 bucks and change.
A guy named John L. wrote in to complain about some of my reporting on Pfizer. He addressed his email to "Dear CNBC. You need to tone down this Mike Huckman a bit regarding Pfizer. He is doing more than reporting the news, he is heavily editorializing. If he is writing editorials, then they should not be in the guise of news articles and maybe should not be under the CNBC logo. This is WAY (his emphasis) overboard." John, they're not news articles, they're blogs, which by their nature should have a bit of an edge. That doesn't give me license to editorialize--after all, I'm a reporter--but it does give me some leeway to provide some color.
And one final DNDN comment regarding my last mailbag post that included a redacted excerpt from a pretty threatening email sent by a Dendreonian. Richard Pashuck said, "It's unfortunate that someone had to resort to name calling, profanity and even threatening language towards you based on that posted article. I have thought, and continue to believe, that you have always been fair in your coverage of Dendreon."
The humble Ohio State Buckeye fan later sent a follow-up email congratulating my USC Trojans on their rout of his team. "Book that ticket to Miami!," Pashuck told me. I almost took his advice. Then SC lost to the other OSU. I still might book a hotel room, but first we have to start by beating the Ducks!
Questions? Comments? Pharma@cnbc.com