E Market Briefing For Thursday, Oct. 15

Barbarians are positioning - it seems at times, just outside of the market's gates, but there's not 'yet' a catalyst to let them stream through unhindered.

It is a more cautious time, based on pandemic, on politics, on expensive stock leadership, while the more-mundane stocks aren't particularly pricey at all. But of course that presumes we emerge from the bunker-lifestyle quickly enough, otherwise suppressed earnings persist and even broaden to other sectors.

 

Optimistically that won't happen (the prolongation of COVID), but listening to a gathering in Singapore, they're warning that air travel by 'business' (far more crucial than leisure travel) has no chance of recovering for 2-3 years. I'm not convinced it will recover fully even then, because one thing learned from this era is that more business can be conducted remotely than ever recognized. It may also be that executives enjoyed the travel (whether escapes from their office routines, or even wives and husbands occasionally -just teasing-), or the perks given by a lot of companies on trips.

This topic lightly came-up yesterday when I visited with the LightPath (LPTH) leaders and mentioned the upcoming Annual Meeting. Well it will be 'virtual' of course, and online has no travel, parking or venue room rental costs either, much less a sort of open bar some firms have done at meetings or presentations. Not to be a spoilsport, but we noted not just how much money will be saved, but also a larger number of shareholders are likely to participate given online ease.

 

I sort of suspect yesterday's overly-promoted, and then under-delivered as far as breaking news (and it was what it should be), Sorrento (SRNE) R&D Presentation, sort of shows what happens when a gathering has too many attendees just listening, many of whom didn't appreciate how thorough the 'solution outlines' were, and a better understanding of where pending 'trials' or IND's are at.

Sorrento, whether by inefficiencies or just overloaded, or perhaps via a slow FDA process, took their sweet time getting Summertime promises unrolling, it is still lacking in delivering most. But at least STI-5656 was approved today for Phase 2, both in the United States and also intended for Brazil (presumably it is awaiting the regulatory agency in Brazil to authorize the go-ahead). That's a drug for small-cell lung cancer licensed from China, and as being repurposed, doesn't require Phase 1 testing here. Since initially trials will be in about 400 rapidly-recruited patients 'in hospital', with the USA treatment arms apparently including less severe patients than the first groups in Brazil (which is suffering horribly), we should see how well it performs, primarily address ARDS. So 'if', as widely speculated STI-1499 is head for trial in Brazil (it should be) this isn't that, with STI-1499 apparently still expected to commence trial at Temple U.

Also of COVID note, Heat Biologics (HTBX) perked-up a bit, yesterday receiving a key Patent noted, and today initial coverage from B. Riley (a brokerage), target 4. I believe that's a reasonable target 'if' they progress, get a partner, or funding, and actually consider that a low number should they actually score success if coming to eventual trial, or partnering (in my thinking) with an antibody study.

 

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