In response to my question on yesterday’s post about Orthocell, several people forwarded me the link to a stock advert from a “publishing company” called Port Phillip Publishing. Just in case the link goes away, you can access the content here.
The piece is called the “Body Hackers”. Sounds a bit more like an abattoir than a regen med shop but then I am GenX and not GenY.
Please please PLEASE don’t tell me this is the reason why Orthocell stock is rocketing? Surely the Australian people are not this stupid? I also really hope that Stewart Washer and the team at Orthocell didn’t pay for this “coverage” as it is just about the worst piece of writing I have ever seen in my life. The cornerstone of this article is the apparent relevance of Dolly the sheep to Orthocell’s business. Not only is this just about the stupidest explanation I could think of, but for a “publishing house” it didn’t even have the integrity to reference the Wikipedia entry from which it stole the image and pieces of text. This is obviously a very high piece of quality research, thoroughly relying on a deep and insightful picture of the quality Perth biotech industry.
Aside from leaving me cross-eyed at the end of it from all the SHOUTING TEXT and repeated explanations of THE CHINESE DEAL THAT COULD TURN THIS TINY PERTH BIOTECH INTO A MAJOR PLAYER, I had to laugh out loud. There is no doubt that Dolly the sheep was a major milestone in human innovation and was a remarkable event in our modern timeline. But Dolly the sheep also served as a tremendous warning that we are far from mastering nature. Quite simply, Dolly died young. Dolly died from layers of complications, ranging from progressive lung disease to autoimmune diseases of the joints and digestive tracts. She didn’t even make it to middle age.
But the “expert” who wrote this piece obviously didn’t finish reading the wiki entry.
After I finished laughing, I also had a sobering thought that perhaps the reason for Orthocell’s share movement really is out there in the public domain, namely China. I could easily imagine a well-heeled clinic or private healthcare company (with some obscenely wealthy backers) deciding that this might really be a great commercial opportunity in China. This could be yet another product of questionable clinical value to be energetically consumed by a rapidly growing Chinese middle-class. Most importantly, it is critically important to understand that the Chinese have an intrinsic aversion to surgery of any kind. It actually goes against the fundamental philosophy of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Therefore an Ortho-ACI/ATI product really could sell like crazy in China, irrespective of the clinical merits. But hey, so many of our most talented ASX entrepreneurs are uninterested in scientific robustness or clinical validation – the only real objective is to make money.
Of course, to be fair, from a shareholder / investor viewpoint this is likely to be objectively viewed as the correct objective. I personally believe that real clinical impact and shareholder value creation is the only acceptable ethos for a biomedical company, but I realise that others disagree. If Orthocell’s unexplainable stock price creep really is due to a pending China play, it would sort of make sense why the company can’t explain the movement. If it isn’t stupid publications like the one described above, perhaps it is the share price “magic” that results from a little bit of guanxi (关系) in action. If so, the ASX still needs to determine if there still isn’t a little bit of guanxixue (关系学) behind the guanxi.
In public securities, there will always be the quackery end of the spectrum, whether the “buy side” or the “sell side”. Despite my (extremely) lukewarm feelings about Orthocell as a company, I don’t suggest for a minute that it isn’t worth a punt. Obviously the stock price has tripled in the last month or so (as I am reminded almost daily by plenty of goading punters). Like the lottery, you have to be “in it to win it”. But, like Dolly, sometimes what appears to be a transformational opportunity dies young and in a lot of agony.