Of Dendreon And Pfizer Shorts


Not a surprise, but my post yesterday on what one reader called the analyst "flip-flop" on Dendreon generated a lot of responses and queries.

Mike Donovan asks,"Does the fact that (Dendreon CEO, Dr. Mitch) Gold did not answer the 22 percent question give you pause for concern?" He's referring to my question about whether Provenge met or crossed the threshold of showing at least a 22 percent reduction in the risk of death. It's a bar that Dr. Gold said DNDN would have to meet in order to possibly win FDA approval. The lack of specific data is giving some investors and analysts cause for concern, but Dr. Gold insists he is simply obeying the strict rules imposed by the American Urological Association to unveil the numbers at its upcoming conference. That is common practice among scientific and medical organizations like the AUA, but sometimes companies do reveal a little more information than Dendreon did. The devil is always in the details. But Dr. Gold did go so far as to say the results were "unambiguous" and "a clear hit."

An anonymous reader wants to know if we're going to televise the Provenge data presentation at AUA because "this is just so big for cancer patients." No. Most organizations don't let TV cameras into the actual presentation and even if AUA does permit them inside, the researchers' PowerPoints are extremely dense, often beyond dull and boring to a lay audience and so, they'd make terrible TV in addition to going over the heads of 99.9% of our viewers. We will get the data and quickly regurgitate it, hopefully, in a comprehensible way when the AUA embargo lifts on the 28th. And I hope to follow that up with a live interview with Dr. Gold. The news will break during the final hour of trading that day, so I suspect the stock will once again be halted for trading.

I also heard from a Dendreon winner and a loser.

Chaz Harris emailed,"I owned 12,000 shares of Dendreon, sold half at $23/share pre-market on April 14th."

But Hossein Aghmehdi said, "I...lost my shirt" following Jonathan Aschoff's (the "flip-flop" analyst) research on Dendreon. "Send him to the unemployment line," he wrote.

I'm assuming he lost his shirt by shorting the stock. And speaking of shorts, my post on Pfizer giving docs in Ireland boxer shorts reportedly emblazonedwith the Viagra logo in celebration of the little blue pill's 10th anniversary in that country, had one reader taking issue with PFE's reaction. Pfizer's doing an internal investigation to get to the bottom of the gimmick, but Irish-American Michael McDonald says the company is misguided."Pfizer Eire should reward rather than punish the perpetrator of the boxer shorts caper. It is a hoot and has been good, worldwide publicity for the brand. As a PFE shareholder and former ad agency CEO, I suggest that he be given a permanent raise...something appropriate...perhaps along the lines of a lifetime supply of Viagra."

But how would Pfizer go about determining what a "lifetime supply" of Viagra should equal? I'm thinkin' it would depend on the beholder.


Questions? Comments? Pharma@cnbc.com and follow me on Twitter at mhuckman