Novogen’s “Comprehensive Science Review”

What a complete and utter farce.

At the end of July, acting CEO Iain Ross informed that markets that he would be conducing a systematic review of Novogen’s (ASX : NRT) prospects, with the goal of a shareholder update by the 1st of September. Today, we received the promised progress update in the form of a notification about the outcomes of a ‘comprehensive science review.’ The gist of this review is that the company will continue business as usual in terms of pushing all three lead candidates ahead (notwithstanding that back in July the company acknowledged that it did not have the financial resources to pursue all three clinical programs effectively). The company has informed shareholders that:

Novogen initiated a company-wide review, including a comprehensive science review, to determine top priorities and enabling the Company to focus valuable resources to achieve high value opportunities in a highly competitive market place.

Arguably, the most “important” thing that that Iain Ross has done, as acting CEO, is put in place a scientific review committee:

In keeping with industry best practice and Novogen’s commitment to maintaining a high standard of scientific integrity, we’ve formed a Scientific Review Committee to ensure rigor is applied to all of our decision-making progresses.

Awesome! Long overdue, sounds great… but wait…

Committee members include retired Executive Vice President for Eli Lilly & Co and President of Lilly Bio-Medicines, Bryce Carmine, as well as two eminent academic researchers : Professor Peter Gunning from the University of New South Wales, Australia, and Professor Gil Mor from Yale University in the USA.

Sorry… whaaaa’ ….?

Hang on a minute. You mean to tell us that Novogen has put together an “independent” committee of scientific reviewers of the pipeline consisting of an existing Director of the company (well, I suppose two if you believe that Peter Gunning has anything of value to contribute as a director of a public company) and the two key scientists that are the originator’s of the company’s intellectual property???

You’ve got to be kidding us.

Folks, I don’t often feel compelled to make an “investment suggestion”* but my strongest advice to all you “Mum and Dad” investors is that if I were you, I would get my money out of this company as fast as possible. This management team is a complete and utter joke and lacks the integrity and sophistication to responsibly deploy your shareholder capital. And where the hell are the major shareholders in Novogen at this time? Why are you standing by the sideline watching your capital dissipate? Not only did Novogen lack the integrity to conduct an independent scientific review following the Graham Kelly shake-up, but it failed to actually tell the market anything meaningful about the go-forward strategy of the business. Today’s announcement is nothing but text on a page, and not even very good text at that. These idiots even affirmed project “Jacob’s Hope” (did you see they even stuck in a note at the bottom of page 2 about not a patent application – but the plans to file a patent – truly a new low for an ASX disclosure).

I’m truly disgusted. In conducting itself like this, Novogen has once again demonstrated that it unfit to be a public company. I’m also disappointed in Iain Ross because, quite frankly, I expected better from someone of his purported calibre. This farcical display of corporate governance not only reflects badly on Iain, but it reflects badly on several other companies that Iain is involved with that are also going through a bit of a soul search as to whether or not their technology really has “legs” (like Tissue Therapies and Anatara).

Shame on you all.

Sadly, the original isn't funnier...

Sadly, the original isn’t less pathetic… (source : Hot Tub Time Machine 2)


* Because this is not a financial advisory site.

16 thoughts on “Novogen’s “Comprehensive Science Review”

  1. I think you’ll find the “review” related to the drugs already in situ and the feasibility of running the same level of development with programs like the “Jacob’s Hope”. No-one will know if the drugs are any good for some time and with the trilexium or CS-6 – maybe never as it keeps getting pushed into the distance. The existing shareholders who participated in the recent Cr raising must be wandering if they done their dough especially with the 30c options expiring in the next couple of months and may well be why the main man quit as he would be in the front line for a “please explain” after running the campaign he did to convince mum and dad investors to buy into it. The instos made a packet selling above 30 & 40c and the mums and dad investors were the ones who paid for it and now are sitting on big losses with options that may well turn out to be completely worthless. I don’t care about the instos but hitting the mums and dads is a bit rough.

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    • Honestly, I am astonished at this company’s lack of integrity. Every time it opens its mouth it just demonstrates further that it is unfit to be a public company.

      I am just hoping that the major shareholders take action to freeze development, clear out the board, and decide whether there is a real go-forward strategy for the business. Novogen does not have a single investment-worth asset and if shareholders are not careful, the money will just get dissipated.

      Iain had a unique opportunity to show some gravitas and do an independent review of the company’s prospects. He failed. He failed because an independent review would have simply found a hollow chocolate bunny.

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      • If it is a hollow chocolate bunny then I guess the founder leaving could blame the failure on those that followed him.

        It seems emails are supposedly being sent from the founder and posted on HC basically saying that anyone could run the trials through so he would in effect have his out if those that followed did at some point discontinue the development of one or more of the drugs. The problem is we’ll never know if they don’t take the drugs all the way through like happened with the “old” Novogen when they stopped their one and only phase 3 trial of phenodoxial.

        If these biotech companies don’t have trust – they have nothing and at some point the music stops no matter how well the story is sold. They may have something they may not but no-one seems to be wanting to touch this Trilexium/CS-6 which was their original drug and the one getting pushed further into the distance even though it was meant to be in trials in 2014/2015 & now sounds like possibly 2017(according to releases). I hope the other 2 drugs at least get a phase 1 trial if nothing more than to find out if their really is something beyond all those mice dying.

        Keep up the good work these companies need closer examination and scrutiny

        Liked by 1 person

      • The problem is, Hannibal, a Phase I doesn’t show much. Sure the oncology setting is a little more “rapid” and some anti-tumour efficacy can be included as a secondary end-point but the reality is that with late-stage cancer patients, unless you see something miraculous the goal is still pretty much just safety.

        What people don’t seem to understand is that we have a hell of a lot of GOOD drugs out there in clinical development and that means that these guys need to compete for patients. If I were a patient, you couldn’t pay me enough money to enrol into a study for these drugs when there are things that are so much better (and somewhat more proven) on the table. So what does that mean? A shitty little Phase I study, in a handful of patients, that takes forever (and the gravy train continues meanwhile) and then hopefully proves “safety” (or at least some kind of patient tolderance). Then what? What value inflection has been created for shareholders?

        None.

        I’m frickin’ tired of watching these gravy trains. There has to be a scientific rationale for doing clinical studies, and so for neither this company or its scientific founders have demonstrated this. As for Peter Gunning, I will tell you FOR A FACT, that guy doesn’t have the vaguest idea of the mechanism of action behind his intellectual contribution to Novogen. So what are shareholders really investing in then?

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  2. I have no idea about the mechanisms of actions either – I take it that relates to how the drug or compound goes about doing what it does?

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  3. I think its check mate though – they hold the cards we can’t see and as long as they have the cash to stay afloat the “development” & “discovery” continues. Can’t completely discount though that having spent all that money that they just might have something that is even slightly better then what’s available now – won’t know till the results are published so again its check mate. I hope something is achieved personally it would be a real kick in the guts to charities that have poured money into drug developments if it was all just a gravy train. I can’t see Professor Gunning being the gravy train type though – he has been tied to charities for quite some years – though as a director he might not have the insight into the lab work at Novogen – but you’d think he would. Dr Stehn doesn’t strike me as the gravy train type either and like Gunning she was exposed a lot to those children’s Charities.

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    • All they had to do was an independent scientific review as part of the GK turn-over. It would have been the right thing to do. The company has produced essentially no peer-reviewed data of any kind.

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  4. Hi Chris
    Great article.
    Had a phone call today from the kids cancer council, to whom I make regular donations.
    The interesting thing is that they were asking for an extra donation to support a new drug trial at Westmead Children’s Hospital next year, using an experimental drug called ANISINA. How come Novogen isn’t funding these trials, especially since they have so much cash in reserve?
    Cheers Steve

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  5. I agree – something is amiss in this story with these guys – Novogen are claiming Anisina is theirs (developed by Novogen old hand Andrew Heaton using their new patented design library) and yet the kids cancer project seem to be still funding “Anisina” – but I can’t find any mention in the full year accounts for Novogen of that. Maybe I’m not reading the accounts properly?

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    • Hannibal – yourself and a couple of other readers have brought this to my attention. I have written a short post on it (there are quite a few media professionals on my reading list and they are very active). Let’s see if we can’t move the “disclosure” needle on this one. Thanks for your great help.

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  6. Great Article -made me wonder what ever happened to Novogen’s spin off Marshall Edwards and Phenoxidiol – I did a report on it for a university project over 10 years ago,fortunatley I’d already lost most of my money on all things tech,lke ecorp and ERG,so couldn’t invest,though I told my father to….sorry dad.
    I checked out Hannibal’s link -what a croc – these people have no shame.
    I rarely give to charities that call or harass you on the street – half the money is going to the person you talk to,and the other half you never know where it actually ends up….perhaps none of that money was going on the trials -see how they use the word ‘support’….that can mean anything..could just be a good sounding script cooked up by the manager of the call centre hothouse.

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