|INTRO Here's my semi-annual exercise to see if I remember why I own the stocks I own, and so I can check back and see if their stories have changed. I post in case it helps others too.|
GERN (market cap was $0.611B EOY13 is $0.504B mid14)
Geron was a leading edge biotech that diversified its risk by pursuing multiple technologies: cloning, stem cells, telomerase, etc. Through various misfortunes and the high business failure risk of such innovative technologies, the company has become like most fledgling biotechs, relying on the success of one key technology to make the company profitable by offering a treatment to an unmet need. In Geron's case it is their treatment Imetelstat, a telomerase controller that targets cell growth and death. The initial ailment is to fight cancer, initially hematologic malignancies, (which I read as blood disorders). As with any innovative treatment, the FDA is being extraordinarily cautious, which also means interrupting trials and delaying the process at the first signs of doubt. The company is just now coming out from under such a delay. (I always wonder about the delay, not in terms of the trial, but in terms of the lives affected by delaying access to the treatment. Why delay treatments for life-threatening afflictions?)
The stem cell aspects of the business have been spun off into another company that I will be reporting on in my next semi-annual review - assuming I still have that stock. Evidently I am about to become owner of shares of Asterias through a deal negotiated for all qualified GERN stockholders.
The downside is the same downside as any startup, particularly any biotech startup, and even more so for an innovative biotech startup, and extraordinarily so for such a long-delayed, diluted, storied startup as Geron.
The upside is the mirror of the downside as an effective treatment against cancer has enormous potential, and being able to extend the pipeline to cover multiple cancers with the same technology multiplies the potential.
The caveat is that Geron's situation is very similar to Dendreon's, and Dendreon suffered from the corporate and bureaucratic immune response to Dendreon's challenge to entrenched treatments, regulations, competitors, financiers, and investors. I hope Geron safely clears all such hurdles, for patients' lives primarily.
DISCLOSURE LTBH since 1999 and continuing to hold (though I sold half, partly for diversification, partly to raise funds. trimbathcreative.wordpress.com
(I've also collected links to the other discussion boards and my other stocks over on my blog trimbathcreative.wordpress.com