Friday, December 9, 2011

SIGA: Off the Mat!

Three pieces of blessed reassurance to report on SIGA today.

There've been times when I've wished SIGA CEO Eric Rose would spin and tout more. Or, at least some. But he's not that sort of CEO. As a discreet, low-profile, well-respected science geek, he's the sort of fellow ideally suited for patiently dealing with governmental bureaucrats and scientists. Since SIGA is funded by and sells to the government, that's essential. But his diffidence has allowed louder voices with greater chutzpah and shameless misinformation to run roughshod, with nary a peep from Rose.

Until now. Yesterday, he posted this glorious rebuttal to the insane, gut ignorant press/political assault of the past few weeks. And the fact that he's so not a spin-meister, and so devoted to steak rather than sizzle, makes it all the more powerful and persuasive. Plain facts, amply footnoted. Finally!

Also terrific was the performance of SIGA board member (and Bush administration Homeland Security advisor) Fran Townsend on Anderson Cooper's show last night. She deftly sliced through the gobs of bullshit being proffered by yet another reporter attempting to trump up a scandal from absolutely nothing. If you're a SIGA investor, don't miss it:

Also, some quieter news.

A study shows that application of ST-246, as expected, creates resistance in smallpox virus, making the drug less effective (this is true of all antivirals and antibiotics). However, the resistant varieties are much less virulent. This is really good news for three reasons:

1. ST-246 is easy to create in a lab (the patent is public), but the bad guys can't whip some up and use it to develop a super resistant strain. This makes ST-246 an extra valuable bioterror counteragent.

2. Chimerix can't (yet?) say the same about their drug

3. This opens a pathway to a safer pox vaccine to replace existing stockpiles, which have side effects and can't be used in immunocompromised patients and others (about 4% of the population overall). It's yet another use for this drug.

Finally: when SIGA receives the $40M downpayment due on their contract with BARDA, it will prove to markets that 1. the contract is good, and 2. there will be no need for a secondary offering (because they'll be flush with cash). I don't expect the price to shoot up hugely (that won't happen until multiple revenue sources are achieved and the legal cloud is removed), but it should help some.

I wrote the following paragraph at Wednesday's stock price, but it applies now, as well:

This is a good time to buy. We're at least a year or two from meteoric success, but it's a lot cheaper to buy at $1.85 [or even $2.30!] than at $3 or $4 in a few months. That said, I certainly can't promise it won't drop further. But I'm still quite confident, long term.


jim said...

Well now, that's an improvement in my weekend.

joshi said...

onwards and upwards!

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