SIGA, last mentioned here ages ago at $3.75, was quoted at $15.33 in after-hours trading last night.  Fear of monkey pox being perhaps overdone (see below) — I’m selling the shares I have left.

Likewise, much of my CMRX, up 60% since mentioned here last week. (Again, see below.)

Did you see that Russia’s banned 963 Americans from entering Russia?  Even John McCain, though deceased.  But not Trump.  Why ban friends?

Did you see Bill Maher’s latest “New Rule?”  Another in his series of “too woke to win” rants . . . where he fully acknowledges the issue (e.g., racist policing) but laments the rhetoric (“defund the police”), which he knows the right will immediately portray as the mainstream Democratic position, when it is NOT. (“Fund the police,” Joe Biden stresses“Fund the police. Fund them.  Fund them.”)

Of course, we do this to the other side as well.  For example, their fringe experienced the assault on the Capitol yet later that night still refused to certify Biden’s win.  We took that fringe and made it seem as though this was mainstream Republican behavior .  Except that — oh, wait — it was.  In this case, 147 senators and representatives including the House Minority Leader and the chair of the Republican Senate Campaign Committee.

Maybe it’s not equivalent, after all.

Anyhow, Friday’s “New Rule” looked at the issue of gender identity in non-conforming 8-year-olds.  His point was not that there aren’t serious issues here to be dealt with sensitivity and care; but that “having concerns” (as a large portion of the electorate does) should . . . well . . . be allowed.   See what you think.

Smahtguy: The Life and Times of Barney Frank, by cartoonist and former Congressional aide Eric Orner, has hit the shelves.  (Or your computer screen if you want to save money and trees.)  What a life.  What a way to learn about politics and the legislative process and financial regulation.

And now back to monkey pox.

Glen H.: “Glad I bought more CMRX last week.  It looks like two directors plus Chimerix’s CFO/Business Officer have bought quite a few shares over the last 3 days —  10,000 shares at $1.61 by one; 15,000 at $1.71 by another; 11,400 at $2.06 by the third,  MY OPINION:  It was smart of Chimerix to sell Tembexa for a nice price plus future royalties to a company that probably will do a better job selling it (both foreign & domestic) . . . and to use that cash to launch the drugs for their future.  I’d be interested in your guru’s opinion.”

Guru: “So the monkey pox hysteria trade is on for a bit. No way to predict when this is going to peak but more or less everybody who’s been infected so far has recovered just fine.  I know the stock well. They have a drug that’s supposed to treat smallpox and got FDA approval to do so even though it actually made the clinical outcome worse for the treated patients when they were testing it in bone marrow transplant years ago. The government stockpiles drugs like this in case of a smallpox outbreak. SIGA makes more than $100 million a year supplying the first one of these. They first started supplying it in 2013 and — since their drug lasts only seven years — were able to sell $100 million more in 2020 because the first batch had all ‘expired.’

“In theory, CMRX could have done the same, but instead sold theirs to another company for $225 million in cash plus the possibility of another 100 million if the government decides to buy beyond a certain amount, and a 20% royalty if the government decides  to buy even more. They are using this $225 million to fund development of a cancer drug for glioblastoma that was supposed to be fileable with the FDA for accelerated approval this year except the FDA told them to go and run a controlled clinical trial. I expected the FDA to tell them that and I would be very surprised if the controlled trial is successful. They will start that trial sometime this year presumably and will be finishing it in 2025 so we have a long time before we know.

“Meanwhile the stock is going up because there is this sudden worldwide outbreak of monkey pox, a much much more benign cousin of smallpox. Of course they don’t get any additional money for sales in monkey pox if there ever is a sale in  monkey pox. They’re not officially approved anywhere for monkey pox although they could petition the FDA to get approval and presumably get it. These approvals are all based on trials in animals because in the case of smallpox it’s unethical even to contemplate a trial in people. Obviously there could be a trial of monkey pox in people as it breaks out in the West Coast of Africa on a regular basis but the most number of patients they’ve ever seen anywhere was about 200. The last time there was an outbreak in the United states was in 2003 where a total of 47 people got infected before they were able to contain it. It’s a self limited disease. They quote a fatality rate of less than 1% up to 6% but that’s based on the results in rural Nigeria and the deaths were all in infants or a couple of immunocompromised people. There have been no reported deaths from monkeypox in the United states. Even the recent people who have been hospitalized have made full recoveries. However perhaps having a drug on board at $10,000 per course of therapy would limit the duration of infection more than otherwise. We don’t really know since there is no human clinical data and mice models are weak approximations at best.  So it looks like CMRX is riding the monkey pox train even though they literally get zero economic benefit from it.

“At some point, probably soon when the  Federal Reserve starts shrinking the balance sheet and raising interest rates more, CMRX is probably going back down.  But at the current price it is trading at about the cash level.  Lots of companies are trading well below their cash but of course a stock trading below cash is always intrinsically ‘cheap.'”



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