A problem for small retail investors looking for trusted financial news websites lies in deciphering which ones serve their interests and which ones simply offer analysis more suited for the message board forums. Often the barrier between news and bluster is blurred and one example comes to mind which I would like to highlight. Adam Feuerstein is a Senior Columnist at TheStreet.com who blogs about the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. I feel that Feuerstein also serves as an example of how the flow of information from “news” sources to the retail investor is distorted and broken.
Last Friday, I read first hand an example of Adam’s “reporting” on a biotechnology company I follow, Generex Biotechnology (NASDAQ: GNBT). Since Generex is a micro cap company, having an article from a “news source” featuring them can result in volatile trading activity for their stock. A columnist offering a negative opinion on a company or stock can often result in a more well rounded perspective and be helpful. However, when the article presents a defamatory opinion based on untrue statements, the small retail shareholder holding shares can watch his investment deteriorate for potentially manipulative reasons.
Feuerstein takes a negative approach towards Generex in his daily featured article, titled Biotech Stock Mailbag. The problem is that he states his opinion based upon premises which I find to be blatantly false. Feuerstein belittles Generex\’s efforts in developing Oral-lyn buccal insulin spray by stating that “none of the Oral-lyn data collected by Generex has been peer-reviewed in credible medical journals, nor has it been presented at the top-flight diabetes meetings”.
In the lively comment section that follows his article, I cited the numerous peer review articles which have been published by the independent researchers studying Oral-lyn in its Phase I, II and III trials, and named the plentiful “top-flight diabetes meetings” where Oral-lyn data has been presented, including having Oral-lyn data being selected for a prestigious podium presentation at last year\’s American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions.
In reality, Generex routinely presents Oral-lyn data at all of the major diabetes events and the latest peer review article was published last month.
Feuerstein responded to my comment by stating that he gains his perspective from \”the thought leaders at the American Diabetes Association” who tell him that “Oral-Lyn is a waste of time and potentially dangerous\”. Dr. Gerald Bernstein is the Vice President Medical Affairs at Generex and previously served as President of the American Diabetes Association. He presently serves on several ADA committees and is a member of the Board of Directors for the ADA\’s Research Foundation. Dr. Bernstein is a certified “thought leader at the American Diabetes Association.”
Generex’s Oral-lyn buccal insulin spray is in a Phase III trial in the US and has recently been conditionally approved by the FDA under a Treatment IND. The FDA website states that they will permit an investigational drug to be used under a Treatment IND if there is sufficient evidence of safety and preliminary evidence of drug efficacy. The Treatment IND approval for Oral-lyn was the first awarded by the FDA to treat diabetes. Since Feuerstein, a biotechnology reporter, is incapable of finding the numerous peer reviews detailing Oral-lyn’s development, he is evidently unaware that there has never even been one single serious adverse event ever attributed to its usage. The FDA is apparently more diligent.
A reporter, analyst, or a highly regarded physician who specializes in endocrinology can certainly present a sophisticated conclusion that calls the quest to develop a non-invasive insulin drug an effort in futility.