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2 Biotech Stocks Under $5 With Blockbuster Potential

2 Biotech Stocks Under $5 With Blockbuster Potential



A lot can change after a single trip around the sun. While COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the economy, CFRA’s chief investment strategist, Sam Stovall, thinks that the market will continue to stage a recovery, with stocks returning to all-time highs in the next year.

“In other bear markets going back to 1929, and the average 13-month advance was 50%. We have a very good possibility of retracing our steps and challenging the old high,” Stovall stated. He estimates that the S&P 500 will reach the 3,435 mark in the next twelve months, which from current levels, would reflect a 17% pop as well as surpass the 3,393 high-point hit back on February 19.

That’s not to say the reopening of the economy won’t bring about a second wave of COVID-19 infections, but Stovall argues that even if this occurs, the U.S. government’s huge stimulus packages should mitigate the impacts. “We’ve had a lot of people compare it with the crash of ’29, the depression of the 1930s, etc. But back then, you had the government actually tightening their reins, balancing their budget — you did not have a reactive Federal Reserve. Whereas today, you have the exact opposite,” Stovall explained.

With this in mind, investors are scanning the Street for compelling plays, hoping to snap up stocks before share prices set off on an upward trajectory. For more risk-tolerant investors, penny stocks, or names trading for less than $5 per share, are taking center stage. Not only do you get more bang for your buck, but also even minor share price appreciation can result in major percentage gains. However, other market watchers believe that these bargain prices are too good to be true, noting there could be a very good reason a particular ticker is trading at such low levels.

Taking the risk into consideration, we used TipRanks’ database to pinpoint two penny stocks within the healthcare sector that look especially promising; each boasts a “Strong Buy” consensus rating from the analysts and sky-scraping upside potential.

Strongbridge Biopharma (SBBP)

With one rare disease asset, Keveyis, already available and a Phase 3 candidate, Recorlev, Strongbridge could potentially transform the treatment paradigm. Bearing this in mind, ahead of the upcoming Recorlev data release in the third quarter of 2020, several members of the Street believe that its $2.86 share price reflects the ideal entry point.

In a recent update, management stated that the Phase 3 LOGICS data readout for Recorlev in Cushing's syndrome is right on track, with 41 out of 42 patients having already completed the randomized withdrawal phase. In addition, another patient should be enrolled any day now.  

According to Oppenheimer’s Hartaj Singh, there is a “clear path to top-line data in 3Q20," noting that the completion of 41 patients suggests that the COVID-19 disruption will have a limited impact on the quality of the data. Singh also thinks that the Recorlev supply should be enough to last throughout the trial. The 5-star analyst added, “Following a positive readout, an NDA submission for Recorlev could be filed within ~six months, after which a standard 10-month review cycle would be expected. We anticipate a launch in late 2021/early 2022.” To this end, the data readout could drive massive upside.

Despite the fact that SBBP faces competition, Recorlev's profile is clinically relevant, in Singh’s opinion. “Recorlev's profile could not only convert ketoconazole switches but also the existing branded products. From our physician research, we found the dissatisfaction with pasireotide (Signifor), whose diabetes risk is contraindicated with Cushing's, as an opportunity for disruption. In this vein, we believe the improvements on metabolic and other metrics can be particularly meaningful for Recorlev commercially,” he commented.

Singh also points out that Cushing's launch could benefit from the ultra-orphan primary periodic paralysis (PPP) market. “The successful efforts to build strong patient support services and management are likely to translate well into Cushing's, a population which can be challenging to manage due to the complexity of their disease, co-morbidities, and high unmet need,” he noted.

As Singh believes SBBP is an “underappreciated name with significant risk/reward potential," he reiterates an Outperform (i.e. Buy) rating, along with a $6 price target, which implies a 104% upside potential from current levels. (To watch Singh’s track record, click here)   

Turning now to the rest of the Street, other analysts also like what they’re seeing. 3 Buys and no Holds or Sells have been assigned in the last three months, making the consensus rating a Strong Buy. At $12, the average price target puts the upside potential at a whopping 320%. (See Strongbridge stock analysis on TipRanks)

Selecta Biosciences (SELB)

Our second pick is Selecta Biosciences, which is working on overcoming immunogenicity with its innovative ImmTOR immune tolerance platform. With top-line data from the COMPARE Phase 2 study of its SEL-212 candidate in severe gout expected in Q3 of this year, the analyst community thinks that at $3.24 apiece, now is the time to snap up shares.  

Weighing in on SELB for Canaccord, five-star analyst John Newman sees the upcoming data readout as a major catalyst for shares. “We expect SEL-212 to show a large and statistically significant improvement for serum uric acid control vs Krystexxa in COMPARE, which should move the stock significantly higher during 3Q20. We believe the study is highly powered to show a statistically significant benefit for SEL-212,” he stated.

Newman also argues that the data from patients that didn’t receive all of the infusions should still be factored into the results. Expounding on this, he said, “Also, very importantly, patients who drop out of the study due to a missed infusion should still be included in the study, in our view, meaning study powering should not be affected. This is the same statistical treatment used in the original Phase 3 Krystexxa studies.”

Looking more closely at the baseline serum uric acid (SUA) enrollment requirements, they are identical for both the SEL-212 and Krystexxa arms. According to Newman, this means the efficacy difference will be clearly interpretable. It should also be noted that SELB did change the baseline SUA measurement in order to accelerate enrollment, but as both arms were equally impacted, the analyst thinks the alteration is irrelevant.

While some investors expressed concern regarding COVID-19's impact on the data readout, half of the patients had already completed the study as of April, and flexibility regarding the location of blood draws and infusion frequency limits the impact as well.

To this end, Newman left his Buy rating and $13 price target unchanged. Should this target be met, a twelve-month gain of 301% could be in the cards. (To watch Newman’s track record, click here)

What does the rest of the Street think about SELB’s long-term growth prospects? It turns out that other analysts also have high hopes. Only Buy ratings have been received in the last three months, 7 to be exact, so the consensus rating is a Strong Buy. Not to mention the $7.83 average price target implies 139% upside potential. (See Selecta stock analysis on TipRanks)

To find good ideas for stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.

The post 2 Biotech Stocks Under $5 With Blockbuster Potential appeared first on TipRanks Financial Blog.

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The Coming Of The Police State In America

The Coming Of The Police State In America

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Epoch Times,

The National Guard and the State Police are now…



The Coming Of The Police State In America

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Epoch Times,

The National Guard and the State Police are now patrolling the New York City subway system in an attempt to do something about the explosion of crime. As part of this, there are bag checks and new surveillance of all passengers. No legislation, no debate, just an edict from the mayor.

Many citizens who rely on this system for transportation might welcome this. It’s a city of strict gun control, and no one knows for sure if they have the right to defend themselves. Merchants have been harassed and even arrested for trying to stop looting and pillaging in their own shops.

The message has been sent: Only the police can do this job. Whether they do it or not is another matter.

Things on the subway system have gotten crazy. If you know it well, you can manage to travel safely, but visitors to the city who take the wrong train at the wrong time are taking grave risks.

In actual fact, it’s guaranteed that this will only end in confiscating knives and other things that people carry in order to protect themselves while leaving the actual criminals even more free to prey on citizens.

The law-abiding will suffer and the criminals will grow more numerous. It will not end well.

When you step back from the details, what we have is the dawning of a genuine police state in the United States. It only starts in New York City. Where is the Guard going to be deployed next? Anywhere is possible.

If the crime is bad enough, citizens will welcome it. It must have been this way in most times and places that when the police state arrives, the people cheer.

We will all have our own stories of how this came to be. Some might begin with the passage of the Patriot Act and the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security in 2001. Some will focus on gun control and the taking away of citizens’ rights to defend themselves.

My own version of events is closer in time. It began four years ago this month with lockdowns. That’s what shattered the capacity of civil society to function in the United States. Everything that has happened since follows like one domino tumbling after another.

It goes like this:

1) lockdown,

2) loss of moral compass and spreading of loneliness and nihilism,

3) rioting resulting from citizen frustration, 4) police absent because of ideological hectoring,

5) a rise in uncontrolled immigration/refugees,

6) an epidemic of ill health from substance abuse and otherwise,

7) businesses flee the city

8) cities fall into decay, and that results in

9) more surveillance and police state.

The 10th stage is the sacking of liberty and civilization itself.

It doesn’t fall out this way at every point in history, but this seems like a solid outline of what happened in this case. Four years is a very short period of time to see all of this unfold. But it is a fact that New York City was more-or-less civilized only four years ago. No one could have predicted that it would come to this so quickly.

But once the lockdowns happened, all bets were off. Here we had a policy that most directly trampled on all freedoms that we had taken for granted. Schools, businesses, and churches were slammed shut, with various levels of enforcement. The entire workforce was divided between essential and nonessential, and there was widespread confusion about who precisely was in charge of designating and enforcing this.

It felt like martial law at the time, as if all normal civilian law had been displaced by something else. That something had to do with public health, but there was clearly more going on, because suddenly our social media posts were censored and we were being asked to do things that made no sense, such as mask up for a virus that evaded mask protection and walk in only one direction in grocery aisles.

Vast amounts of the white-collar workforce stayed home—and their kids, too—until it became too much to bear. The city became a ghost town. Most U.S. cities were the same.

As the months of disaster rolled on, the captives were let out of their houses for the summer in order to protest racism but no other reason. As a way of excusing this, the same public health authorities said that racism was a virus as bad as COVID-19, so therefore it was permitted.

The protests had turned to riots in many cities, and the police were being defunded and discouraged to do anything about the problem. Citizens watched in horror as downtowns burned and drug-crazed freaks took over whole sections of cities. It was like every standard of decency had been zapped out of an entire swath of the population.

Meanwhile, large checks were arriving in people’s bank accounts, defying every normal economic expectation. How could people not be working and get their bank accounts more flush with cash than ever? There was a new law that didn’t even require that people pay rent. How weird was that? Even student loans didn’t need to be paid.

By the fall, recess from lockdown was over and everyone was told to go home again. But this time they had a job to do: They were supposed to vote. Not at the polling places, because going there would only spread germs, or so the media said. When the voting results finally came in, it was the absentee ballots that swung the election in favor of the opposition party that actually wanted more lockdowns and eventually pushed vaccine mandates on the whole population.

The new party in control took note of the large population movements out of cities and states that they controlled. This would have a large effect on voting patterns in the future. But they had a plan. They would open the borders to millions of people in the guise of caring for refugees. These new warm bodies would become voters in time and certainly count on the census when it came time to reapportion political power.

Meanwhile, the native population had begun to swim in ill health from substance abuse, widespread depression, and demoralization, plus vaccine injury. This increased dependency on the very institutions that had caused the problem in the first place: the medical/scientific establishment.

The rise of crime drove the small businesses out of the city. They had barely survived the lockdowns, but they certainly could not survive the crime epidemic. This undermined the tax base of the city and allowed the criminals to take further control.

The same cities became sanctuaries for the waves of migrants sacking the country, and partisan mayors actually used tax dollars to house these invaders in high-end hotels in the name of having compassion for the stranger. Citizens were pushed out to make way for rampaging migrant hordes, as incredible as this seems.

But with that, of course, crime rose ever further, inciting citizen anger and providing a pretext to bring in the police state in the form of the National Guard, now tasked with cracking down on crime in the transportation system.

What’s the next step? It’s probably already here: mass surveillance and censorship, plus ever-expanding police power. This will be accompanied by further population movements, as those with the means to do so flee the city and even the country and leave it for everyone else to suffer.

As I tell the story, all of this seems inevitable. It is not. It could have been stopped at any point. A wise and prudent political leadership could have admitted the error from the beginning and called on the country to rediscover freedom, decency, and the difference between right and wrong. But ego and pride stopped that from happening, and we are left with the consequences.

The government grows ever bigger and civil society ever less capable of managing itself in large urban centers. Disaster is unfolding in real time, mitigated only by a rising stock market and a financial system that has yet to fall apart completely.

Are we at the middle stages of total collapse, or at the point where the population and people in leadership positions wise up and decide to put an end to the downward slide? It’s hard to know. But this much we do know: There is a growing pocket of resistance out there that is fed up and refuses to sit by and watch this great country be sacked and taken over by everything it was set up to prevent.

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/09/2024 - 16:20

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Low Iron Levels In Blood Could Trigger Long COVID: Study

Low Iron Levels In Blood Could Trigger Long COVID: Study

Authored by Amie Dahnke via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

People with inadequate…



Low Iron Levels In Blood Could Trigger Long COVID: Study

Authored by Amie Dahnke via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

People with inadequate iron levels in their blood due to a COVID-19 infection could be at greater risk of long COVID.


A new study indicates that problems with iron levels in the bloodstream likely trigger chronic inflammation and other conditions associated with the post-COVID phenomenon. The findings, published on March 1 in Nature Immunology, could offer new ways to treat or prevent the condition.

Long COVID Patients Have Low Iron Levels

Researchers at the University of Cambridge pinpointed low iron as a potential link to long-COVID symptoms thanks to a study they initiated shortly after the start of the pandemic. They recruited people who tested positive for the virus to provide blood samples for analysis over a year, which allowed the researchers to look for post-infection changes in the blood. The researchers looked at 214 samples and found that 45 percent of patients reported symptoms of long COVID that lasted between three and 10 months.

In analyzing the blood samples, the research team noticed that people experiencing long COVID had low iron levels, contributing to anemia and low red blood cell production, just two weeks after they were diagnosed with COVID-19. This was true for patients regardless of age, sex, or the initial severity of their infection.

According to one of the study co-authors, the removal of iron from the bloodstream is a natural process and defense mechanism of the body.

But it can jeopardize a person’s recovery.

When the body has an infection, it responds by removing iron from the bloodstream. This protects us from potentially lethal bacteria that capture the iron in the bloodstream and grow rapidly. It’s an evolutionary response that redistributes iron in the body, and the blood plasma becomes an iron desert,” University of Oxford professor Hal Drakesmith said in a press release. “However, if this goes on for a long time, there is less iron for red blood cells, so oxygen is transported less efficiently affecting metabolism and energy production, and for white blood cells, which need iron to work properly. The protective mechanism ends up becoming a problem.”

The research team believes that consistently low iron levels could explain why individuals with long COVID continue to experience fatigue and difficulty exercising. As such, the researchers suggested iron supplementation to help regulate and prevent the often debilitating symptoms associated with long COVID.

It isn’t necessarily the case that individuals don’t have enough iron in their body, it’s just that it’s trapped in the wrong place,” Aimee Hanson, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge who worked on the study, said in the press release. “What we need is a way to remobilize the iron and pull it back into the bloodstream, where it becomes more useful to the red blood cells.”

The research team pointed out that iron supplementation isn’t always straightforward. Achieving the right level of iron varies from person to person. Too much iron can cause stomach issues, ranging from constipation, nausea, and abdominal pain to gastritis and gastric lesions.

1 in 5 Still Affected by Long COVID

COVID-19 has affected nearly 40 percent of Americans, with one in five of those still suffering from symptoms of long COVID, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Long COVID is marked by health issues that continue at least four weeks after an individual was initially diagnosed with COVID-19. Symptoms can last for days, weeks, months, or years and may include fatigue, cough or chest pain, headache, brain fog, depression or anxiety, digestive issues, and joint or muscle pain.

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/09/2024 - 12:50

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February Employment Situation

By Paul Gomme and Peter Rupert The establishment data from the BLS showed a 275,000 increase in payroll employment for February, outpacing the 230,000…



By Paul Gomme and Peter Rupert

The establishment data from the BLS showed a 275,000 increase in payroll employment for February, outpacing the 230,000 average over the previous 12 months. The payroll data for January and December were revised down by a total of 167,000. The private sector added 223,000 new jobs, the largest gain since May of last year.

Temporary help services employment continues a steep decline after a sharp post-pandemic rise.

Average hours of work increased from 34.2 to 34.3. The increase, along with the 223,000 private employment increase led to a hefty increase in total hours of 5.6% at an annualized rate, also the largest increase since May of last year.

The establishment report, once again, beat “expectations;” the WSJ survey of economists was 198,000. Other than the downward revisions, mentioned above, another bit of negative news was a smallish increase in wage growth, from $34.52 to $34.57.

The household survey shows that the labor force increased 150,000, a drop in employment of 184,000 and an increase in the number of unemployed persons of 334,000. The labor force participation rate held steady at 62.5, the employment to population ratio decreased from 60.2 to 60.1 and the unemployment rate increased from 3.66 to 3.86. Remember that the unemployment rate is the number of unemployed relative to the labor force (the number employed plus the number unemployed). Consequently, the unemployment rate can go up if the number of unemployed rises holding fixed the labor force, or if the labor force shrinks holding the number unemployed unchanged. An increase in the unemployment rate is not necessarily a bad thing: it may reflect a strong labor market drawing “marginally attached” individuals from outside the labor force. Indeed, there was a 96,000 decline in those workers.

Earlier in the week, the BLS announced JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) data for January. There isn’t much to report here as the job openings changed little at 8.9 million, the number of hires and total separations were little changed at 5.7 million and 5.3 million, respectively.

As has been the case for the last couple of years, the number of job openings remains higher than the number of unemployed persons.

Also earlier in the week the BLS announced that productivity increased 3.2% in the 4th quarter with output rising 3.5% and hours of work rising 0.3%.

The bottom line is that the labor market continues its surprisingly (to some) strong performance, once again proving stronger than many had expected. This strength makes it difficult to justify any interest rate cuts soon, particularly given the recent inflation spike.

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