Miami, FL – September 21, 2018 (EmergingGrowth.com NewsWire) — EmergingGrowth.com, a leading independent small cap media portal with an extensive history of providing unparalleled content for the Emerging Growth markets and companies, reports on Galectin Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: GALT).
- Relevance disappears as investors seek substance not personal attacks
- Investigations and allegations of impropriety continue
- Cyberbullying tactics
- Background is interesting
- Attacking world renown Providence Cancer Institute is vile
When it comes to biotech, Adam Feuerstein was a well known influence. He used to be one of the top commentators on TheStreet.com and left to accept a job at STATwhich is owned by the Boston Globe. Before hiring, STAT reporter Rebecca Robbins did an article on Feuerstein titled “Is Adam Feuerstein the most feared man in biotech?”In the article she said “When he tweets, stocks tumble. And biotech executives quake.” If one were to do an analysis of his tweets and articles they are overwhelmingly negative and agree with Robbins account of Feuerstein before he came on board at STAT. Most biotechs fail and a study done by Advance found that the “observed success rate from IND to market is 20% for public biotech companies.” When you look at Feuerstein’s track record and write on as many biotechs as he writes on its relatively easy to rack up calls on companies that fail. He has to get over 80% call ratio to outperform the market long term. In Robbin’s article she revealed he has a “itchy trigger finger on hypocrisy.” I would add except when he looks in the mirror. Feuerstein definitely tries to position himself as the good guy rooting out corruption and hypocrisy but a deep dive into his exploits shows a much different picture. His track record is impressive “almost too impressive” which is probably the reason he has had multiple investigations by the SEC. Recently he has begun a smear campaign of personal attacks against authors doing research instead of combating them with provocative arguments based in science. In a desperate attempt to be relevant again Feuerstein seems to be alienated his base of supporters.
Online magazines face a tremendous amount of pressure to stay relevant and website traffic is one of the most unbiased metrics that can be used because the number of online subscribers can be misleading with all the spam filters blocking dissemination of the news. A review of some select websites reveal some interesting trends. Many investors like to find their news on Seeking Alpha and The Motley Fool which attempts to present fair and balanced reporting with an emphasis on how the news might affect their investment. TheStreet.com, Feuerstein’s prior employer, offered him a sizeable platform for his news. On May 30, 2017 Feuerstein officially said goodbye to TheStreet.com and started with STAT. The charts below are missing about 2 months of data, but show that as controversial as Feuerstein was, his departure might had a negative, impact on TheStreet.com. STAT did experience a bump upon Feuerstein’s arrival, but peaked in November 2017. In December and January 2018 it seemed like the tide turned at STAT. One theory is that the content just wasn’t resonating with readers. STAT is a subscription site that charges $25/month for its exclusive biotech picks, anchored by Feuerstein.
Content at Stat
The top keyword searched on stat are
According to Alexa statistics there is an 81.50% bounce rateat STAT with an average user session of 2:07. .
Keyword Percent of Search Traffic
- fentanyl 7.04%
- diabetes vaccine 3.13%
- michael cohen novartis 2.82%
- ‘right to try’ bill 2.72%
- congo ebola outbreak 2018 2.54%
By comparison Seeking Alpha is much more stock specific with 30% of its search traffic coming from google and the top search terms were all stock symbols like usual suspects TSLA, AMZN, FB, and AMD. Its bounce rate is 46% but the average user session is 6:15. TheStreet.com has a 76.5% bounce rate with user sessions averaging 3:17, with specific stock tickers dominating the searches. The fool has a bounce rate of 65.5% with an average user session of 2:35 with a mix of search terms on primarily stocks with some headline stories. FierceBiotech gets an honorable mention with a 74.2% bounce rate and an average user session of 2:10. Based on strictly web statistics, Seeking Alpha seems to be winning the attention and loyalty of investors, while STAT seems to be in a downward spiral. It seems like investors might be growing weary of attack based articles and gravitating toward solid finance/science supported analysis.
This chart highlights Feuersteins relevancy in the marketplace. It’s difficult to make the case that he is the king of biotech when he has twice as many followers as the top Seeking Alpha author at half the subscription price. The top 5 Seeking Alpha biotech authors have the same equivalency as Feuerstein. It terms of pricing the Seeking Alpha authors appear to be making more. Feuerstein has a impressive twitter following but it appears to be stagnating. The new tactics of attacking other authors might be backfiring.
Based on subscription rates, STAT doesn’t command the market in biotech analysis. With just the top 5 marketplace contributors at Seeking Alpha, the numbers stack up pretty evenly in terms of distribution. The key difference, and what appears to be the driver, is content and engagement. Looking at the engagement metric, average user session is 6:15 which is almost 3 times that of STAT. One key difference is that users comment on articles and use it almost as a message board and forum on the topic so information is vetted. None of the other sites really have this level of user engagement. The Motley fool does have a message board but, becoming a contributor is so difficult that the diversity of the posters just isn’t there like it is at Seeking Alpha. At seeking alpha there truly is the wisdom of the crowd as articles are fact checked by an army of contributors. STAT might be great at entertaining but investors seem to be moving to substance based content.
Twitter Following Peaked
If you look at the Feuerstein’s twitter following it has peaked or in the process of peaking. The rate of twitter growth indicates he is becoming irrelevant. What is unclear is the social engagement because Feuerstein does in fact filter his content on twitter.
Effective Cyberbullying Tactic
In an apparent uproar to Feuerstein’s recent tweets and censoring, zealots of a Seeking Alpha author took to StockTwits to sort it out in an unfiltered exchange. Feuerstein’s stocktwits account was started in June 2018. He has just over 200 followers, hardly enough to be relevant but enough to wage a campaign against the author. Seeking Alpha author Michael Sheikh with over 20 articles and 1100 followers was pumping out research countering Feuerstein and with one tweet to George Moriarty at Seeking Alpha Feuerstein’s biggest adversary was silenced as Seeking Alpha chose to call it a Terms of Service Violation on every article dating back 1.5 years. What was so interesting about this attack was muted reaction. The stock was trading at $3.10 before the tweet and then the anti-Feuerstein movement kicked into high gear reaching $3.05 before the conference call bomb dropped on AMPE. Post volume during the attack swelled. Many zealots were complaining that Feuerstein didn’t want to debate the facts and wanted to discredit the author.
During the backlash Feuerstein did in fact respond with facts dating back to 2015, but selectively omitted the existence of recent data. In the end Feuerstein was wrong about the data and spot on regarding the price reaction.
Sample Author Attacks
The Cookie Cutter Approach
There are clear patterns to the companies Adam Feuerstein targets. Most have high or growing short interest and some sort of clinical trial results as a catalyst. One of Feuerstein’s strengths/weaknesses is that he is great at telegraphing his intentions and uses the same methodology from stock to stock and event to event and had become quite predictable in the process. Most of this ties into his personality.
An armchair analysis of his psychological profile from a psychologist is that he is a Promoter, Persister in Thinker phase – He uses vulgarisms of his own aggrandizing mission motivated to share information. He is motivated by getting and giving information and is a 2nd degree NIGYYSOB short for “Now I Have Got You, You Son of a Bitch” This is a classic case of vigilantism whereby a person manipulates outcomes by being judge, jury and executioner.
- Identification of the ideal target
- Short Interest
- Poor Management
- No social media following (inability to fight back)
- Recurring Short Arguments
- Company running out of money
- The drug doesn’t work
- The trial is flawed
- Management is promoting the company
- Report only on Catalysts
- Creation of FUD Content in ADVANCE of an Attack
- Distribution through Twitter with 10 min of announcement – Hijack Message
- Panic buying/selling in pre or post market
- Multiple Twitter Attacks in quick succession
- Tip off Attorneys to mention class Action Lawsuits
- Gloating – “I told you so at the end”
- Campaign Management Through Technical Analysis
- Creation of additional issues right at resistance levels
- Followers take to message boards to spread FUD content.
- Regurgitation of old irrelevant facts.
Feuerstein’s Dirty Laundry
Date Stock Plaintiff Complaint Hit Piece
5/25/15 Isoray Todd Cox Stock Manipulation
7/2/16 Palatin Stock DazzlerStock Manipulation Street.com
Expose Adam website full of his shortcomings as and analyst and troubles that he has faced along the way.
Disclosure seems to be a big item for people lately and journalist who disclose they have no conflicts might not have enough skin in the game for investors. There seems to be a movement toward analysts that make a call.
You should understand how Feuerstein cost investors money and endangers biotechs with approvable therapies.
CymaBay, in Mar 2016, he wrote ”Be wary of companies which describe “positive” clinical trial results using wishy-washy adjectives. A recent favorite was CymaBay(CBAY) , which described responses to its cholesterol-lowering drug as “broad” and having “potential utility.” It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that CymaBay’s drug actually performed quite badly.
At the time CAY stock was about $1. It is now $11 and hit a high of $15.50 earlier this year. Woe to those that listened to him and sold, or even worse, shorted the stock.
He never talks about his tremendous mis-calls. It is easier to bash a company than find the diamond in the rough.
Oncosec Med Inc. (ONCS) may end up being groundbreaking, but former CEO Punit Dhillon took the stock price from $30 in early 2011 to about $1.15 in November of 2018. That’s a loss of 96.2% in about 7 and a half years.
With such a poor price history, which is nevertheless typical of many biotech companies, you would expect a short report, or two, from “fear-mongers” like Adam Fuerstein, and the inevitable gloating that comes with it.
It turns out that he did write about ONCS. But instead of bashing the company management, science, and even investors with the usual breezy disregard for detail that many have come to know him by, he instead wrote a glowing article on his new employer’s website, STAT News.
So that is all well and good, and a surprising breath of fresh air. And yet, certain things don’t quite add up:
1) On its release of interesting (some could argue good) preliminary data a few months prior, Oncosec’s stock price briefly shot up, and then predictably crashed back to earth. But this data was actually public knowledge beforehand. It seems like a well-crafted PR was all that was needed.
2) Again in November, Oncosec’s new data release was public knowledge in a large abstract compendium published by the conference sponsor that Oncosec was attending. On Stocktwits, investors were baffled that the stock price not only didn’t react, but actually traded heavily down that day.
3) That night, the CEO was replaced.
4) The next day, Oncosec published its PR, announcing the results of the day before.
5) Simultaneously (coincidentally, you might say!), STAT News published a nice piece about the company, with A.F. the piece’s writer of record. The stock price at one point shot up more than 200%. Of all the days anyone could choose to write about Oncosec, he picked that particular day. Amazing coincidence.
6) Oncosec then proceeded to use the new momentum to refresh its capital structure: investors holding far out-of-the-money warrants had their contracts converted (with their consent) to smaller numbers of in-the-money warrants. Almost all of those new warrants were promptly exercised.
7) Oncosec is now trading near where it started November 2016: at $1.37 a share.
Feuersteins Latest Attack on Trial Design of Providence Cancer Institute – Desperate
TheProvidence Cancer Centeris world renown in Immuno Oncology (I-O), so for any investors to take stock in what Feuerstein claims does so at their own peril. This latest attack APPEARS to be one of the most blatant pay for play schemes when you look at the timing. Let’s look at a hypothetical and see if the glove fits. The first attack came 7 minutes after data was released. The press by GALT was so poorly worded that most had to read it at least 2-3 times before they could comprehend the magnitude. When investors base their decision off of a 7 minute analysis they do so at their own peril. Why was it so important to get this armchair analysis out because the data was so transformative in the cancer community that it was going to fry the shorts. Investors only need to image a short making a call “I need a tweet” someone picking up and saying “I’ll get right on it.” Then the tweet happens the stock goes down and the short live to trade another day. It’s a happy story right but it’s not it turns into a nightmare for Feuerstein because the stock goes up and doesn’t heed his warning. Now the short at the end of the day say “look fix this.” Viola an article shows up the next day akin to his “apple juice” theory. This latest hit piece is fundamentally flawed on so many levels we cannot get into it. Investors need to take a deep breath and realize this very positive data on 2 cancer indications and quite frankly may change the paradigm in cancer treatment.
Followers of Adam Feuerstein should consider that his advice is tainted with opinion and conjecture and there is very little science ever backing up his statements. Waning interest in Adam Feuerstein and the STAT platform seems to be related to the general content posted and the lack of actionable investment advice that is readily apparent on other platforms. Creating controversy is a great tactic in media but it’s becoming apparent that attacking other authors is not what investors are looking for in an analyst. On a positive note, user engagement seems to be a critical part of an analyst’s report and the more balanced articles on Seeking Alpha seem to be what biotech investors are gravitating toward.
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