Off loading

I have sold the remainder of my APPY (at $1.82) and VTUS (at $3.03). Also sold half of my CPRX (at $3.24). CPRX started off looking like it was going to have a huge day but was dragged down with everything else. I will hold on to the remaining half of the CPRX shares and will probably stay in cash for a while. While one major party in the US is threatening to default unless they can reverse the results of the 2012 elections, cash is probably the best place to be.

VTUS pop

Quite a morning for VTUS. My entry timing was pretty good! Huge volume and a 33% jump in price based on an announcement of safety and pharmacokinetic data required for the eventual (hopefully) NDA. I just off-loaded half of my position at $3.45. Will hold the rest and see if the momentum continues.

Pain medicine

Another painful day in the bio-trading world. To hopefully ease some of the ache I have started a position in ZLCS ahead of phase 2 data for their analgesic development compound, Z160. Volume has been growing since the start of the month, with a favourable article in Seeking Alpha having been published on August 1. Hopefully interest will grow as the data draws near (expected early in Q4). I am in at $0.71.

Current state of play

I made an entry here in late February to note that I was exiting 3 positions (KERX, NAVB, and DARA). The next day I exited DEPO. The portfolio had been getting hammered and I was not happy with any of these positions. DEPO was approaching the release of AdComm documents so timing was right for getting out of that one. The moves over those two days left me with two full positions, DCTH and TSRX.

I sold half of my DCTH on 3/11 for $2.17 (I bought at $1.42 on 1/23/2013). DCTH is currently trading at $1.68 after announcing an ATM on 3/14. I sold half of my TSRX on 3/13 for $6.67 (entered for $5.18 on 2/7). I closed the remainder of the position yesterday morning on the announcement of positive results for ESTABLISH. I was hoping for another ACAD like move – but that did not quite pan out.

Speaking of ACAD, it is trading at ~8.20 today. I sold back in late November for $6.15. I wonder how high it can climb. Next catalyst for the stock may be an announcement of a partnership with a major player.

Currently I have one holding, DCTH. This is a small position as I sold half of my original. Looking for something new to add now.


Adding TSRX

I added TSRX at $5.18.

Trius Therapeutics (TSRX) is developing antibiotics. Its lead candidate is Tedizolid Phosphate which is being developed for use in acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections (ABSSSIs).

Tedizolid is a second-generation oxazolidinone. The first-generation oxazolidinone, linezolid, is marketed by Pfizer and has estimated revenues of $1.3B per year. Tedizolid has some potentially beneficial characteristics including: once-daily dosing, a shorter course of therapy, and better safety profile.

TSRX published the results of its first phase-3 Tedizolid trial (ESTABLISH-1) in December 2011. The results showed the drug meeting the primary end-point of establishing non-inferiority to linezolid when assessed by early clinical response. In addition, the drug met all of the secondary efficacy outcomes.

Trius commenced its second phase-3 trial in September 2012.  The trial concluded at the end of the year and preliminary results are expected in March. Assuming a successful trial an NDA submission should follow later in the year.

Within the last year the company has traded as high as $6.40. It closed today at $5.20. It is well funded following a secondary offering in January, which precipitated a drop from $5.42 to $4.90. It seems that there is room for some appreciation ahead of the final pivotal trial for an antibiotic with significant market potential.


Robert Liston

Yesterday I briefly described the new header on the site which depicts the first ever public use of anaesthesia during surgery. The first use in Europe took place shortly afterwards when Robert Liston performed an above knee amputation with the patient under the pacifying influence of ether.

It is ironic that Liston was the first European surgeon to use anaesthetic. His fame and fortune was largely dependent on his speed at the operating table. This speed was invaluable in the pre-sedation days but would become less so with widespread use of ether. My favourite Liston story is the description of the most lethal operation ever performed (as described by Richard Gordon):

“He amputated the leg in under 212 minutes (the patient died afterwards in the ward from hospital gangrene; they usually did in those pre-Listerian days). He amputated in addition the fingers of his young assistant (who died afterwards in the ward from hospital gangrene). He also slashed through the coat tails of a distinguished surgical spectator, who was so terrified that the knife had pierced his vitals he dropped dead from fright”

 Robert Liston