The 2019 Annual Shareholders Meeting: My thoughts.

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Secret Third Arm
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Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:26 pm

The 2019 Annual Shareholders Meeting: My thoughts.

Post by Secret Third Arm » Sat Jun 08, 2019 1:10 am

For those that don't know it, I attended the 2019 meeting in Menlo Park. As requested by biopearl I am re-posting here my thoughts about the meeting. I'm happy to answer any questions just allow me some time before doing so.

Part 1

On June 6th 2019 I attended the Geron Annual Shareholder Meeting. The meeting was held at company headquarters in a smallish conference room and in all, I would say that there were less than 10 shareholders present.

I mention these facts because I (mistakenly) believed that after the disastrous effects of the JNJ discontinuation on 8/27/18 there would be quite a few irate shareholders wishing to speak with management. What I found was just the opposite.

The mood in the room was cordial and subdued, and the entire management team was there and significantly outnumbered the shareholders present. Prior to the start of the meeting I spent some time with Olivia Bloom (CFO) discussing the company’s carry forward losses as outlined in the annual report ($816,800,000 federal, $294,800,000 state). I found her eager to engage and very forthcoming. I don’t think enough is said about these losses but they will have a significant positive impact on profitability when/if Imetelstat comes to market.

Dr. Scarlett approached me directly before the meeting and we chatted for a few minutes about the fact that I had flown in the prior evening from New York for the express purpose of attending. He was gracious both before and afterwards with his time, and for that I was grateful as I had much I wished to ask him.

For those that listened to the call there wasn’t much that was news. At the end of the prepared remarks Dr. Scarlett read several submitted shareholder questions, which were answered by himself, Dr. Rizo, and Ms. Bloom. I recognized a lot of the questions that were proposed here on Seeking Alpha and was glad they tackled them head on. Afterwards, I was able to ask three of the four questions that came from shareholders in the room.

First I asked about the use of Real World Evidence (RWE) in order to get Imetelstat approved for MF in Europe. The answer was that the FDA is the regulatory body that is further advanced in accepting that type of data. My takeaway was that management has a very relaxed attitude about MF approval by the EMA. It could be because they believe that would fall on the shoulders of an ex-US partner to pursue, or perhaps because they already have an alternate path to EMA approval in mind. In either case, EMA approval is not something they seem to be putting much effort into right now, at least compared to the FDA.

Next I asked if the statistical models that they built to determine RWE in MF were such that all they had to do going forward is simply enter in the raw data from any MF center in order to establish median overall survival for patient populations similar to the R/R population in Imbark. They wouldn’t bite on that question and said that their regulatory strategy was proprietary and they wouldn’t disclose it for competitive reasons.

You have to ask yourself, what would have been proprietary about saying yes or no? We already know that they have done one successful analysis since it will be presented at EHA and they are freely admitting it. To tell us that they have built a model that can be easily applied to other centers is not a leap of imagination for anyone. What I think is that they did not want to tip their hand that they plan on doing analysis on multiple centers before the FDA meeting in early 2020 and now have a way of doing it quickly.

I think their strategy is to have data from dozens of centers throughout the world. I think they expect to bring a preponderance of evidence the likes of which the FDA has not seen. Think about it, Geron may be one of the very first companies to apply the FDA’s newly released guidelines on RWE. My guess is that they want to go into the meeting with a pile of incontrovertible evidence that in a specific, identifiable subset of R/R MF patients MOS is only approximately 12 months without Imetelstat.

The last question I asked was about an ex-US partnership. I wanted to know how the company plans to segment those rights to partners since Dr. Scarlett mentioned during his remarks that the value of those rights will grow significantly as Imetelstat gains acceptance and further understanding. In MPN diseases such as ET, PV, MF, MDS, and AML the diseases often progress from one to the other.

Dr. Scarlett clarified that it would be too difficult to try and partner each indication separately, and that the ex-US rights would be for broad indications such as hematologic cancers. To me, that meant that such commercialization rights won’t come cheaply. I also got the impression that an ex-US partner is much further down the road and not until Imetelstat has had a chance to get a boost from some form of regulatory advancement.

So don’t look for a surprise ex-US partner announcement anytime soon in my opinion. Management seems intent on maximizing value first. When you consider that Ms. Bloom confirmed that at the end of 1Q2019 there was $170 million in the bank, even at current burn rates there is plenty of money to get to the FDA meeting in early 2020 and beyond. I honestly felt that they want positive FDA guidance or even some form of accelerated approval before sitting down to negotiate with an ex-US partner. That's my impression from being in the room at least, and it removes a near term catalyst for the stock.

(continued below)

Secret Third Arm
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Re: The 2019 Annual Shareholders Meeting: My thoughts.

Post by Secret Third Arm » Sat Jun 08, 2019 1:11 am

Part 2

The final question came from @Leviek, on the phone and it was great to hear his voice and see the reaction in the room. They all know who you are Ed! Since I knew the nature of his question in advance I spent my time focusing on Dr. Rizo’s reaction and body language. I’ll say this; the lady is a professional. My take is that she knows that eventually Imetelstat will be used in combinations. There’s no doubt in my mind. But that’s also not on her radar at the moment.

She may want it to happen, but she is laser-focused on getting Imetelstat approved in at least MDS or MF right now. They aren’t building a clinical development team under her supervision just to get Imetelstat approved though. That’s just a temporary hurdle that I almost sense she thinks is a forgone conclusion. I think that she plans on getting lots of trials underway once the money starts coming in after approval.

Keep in mind that if Geron runs successful pre-clinical trials in combinations then there is no reason to think that they will bear the cost of actual clinical trials. If Imetelstat can make other drugs better then it’s safe to think that the owners of those other drugs would have a strong financial interest in shouldering the costs of those trials.

After the meeting Dr. Scarlett came up to me again and we chatted. One of the questions I asked was about the data from the Mayo Clinic trial. His answer was straightforward. He said that the FDA allows that the information does not have to be made public for two years if it falls under the heading of trade secrets. The fact that we’re not hearing any more about that data is because they don’t want us to know. Plain and simple, and you can take that for what it’s worth.

So I tried another tack. I asked about Dr. Tefferi. I was hoping that perhaps I might get more insight into whether it was good or bad data that they are trying to keep under wraps. Dr. Scarlett emphasized that he considers Dr. Tefferi a good friend, and that they know that were it not for him we wouldn’t be where we are now exploring MPN indications.

I got the sense that Dr. Tefferi had advocated a much more unconventional approach toward getting Imetelstat approved. Dr. Scarlett said that Geron was committed to conforming to the ‘tried and true approaches' that rely less on 'personal advocacy' and instead 'rely on conforming to regulatory norms’ (paraphrased from my notes). So ask yourself, was the data good or bad if Dr. Tefferi wanted to go around the regulatory process to get Imetelstat approved and into the hands of patients right away?

Next I asked him if they were considering working on Imetelstat to improve the formulation. Specifically, I wanted to know if they were looking for alternate cell delivery methods aside from the lipid tail that caused the FDA hold for elevated LFT. He was emphatic that they have no plans to revisit the chemistry of Imetelstat and that neither did Janssen. He felt that once a drug was locked down it would require going all the way back to the beginning of trials to make a change. He said that there are so many new therapies on the horizon that it wouldn’t be feasible based on the time, energy, and money. I was particularly glad to hear him mention competitive alternative therapies were on his mind.

Lastly, he really wanted to say that if he had something he wanted people to focus on it would be the quality of the people that they have hired. He believes that Geron will have a myeloid heme development team that’s as good as ANY in the industry including Janssen, Celgene, or any other company big or small. He said something like, ‘these people wouldn’t have come if they didn’t have all the confidence in the world’ (paraphrased from my notes).

After I was done grilling him, @Godon_G asked a great question about Right to Try and the high unmet need in MF. He wanted to know if Geron had any plans to offer Imetelstat that way and Dr. Scarlett and Ms. Bloom were adamant that it was the wrong thing to do. Their concern was that they would lose control of the data. Specifically they were worried that patient efficacy claims would drown out the real data. Think about that for a minute; they are worried that efficacy claims would overstate the drug’s ability, not that the drug would come across as less effective. More to the point though was they don’t want to lose control of the data.

So in conclusion I’m glad I went to the annual shareholder meeting but I’m sad that more people were not in attendance or on the phone. The lack of presence sent a poor message from retail shareholders. I don’t know what the vote tally was for the issues on the agenda, but the message to management was clear from where I was sitting.

Disclosure: I am/we are long GERN.

Additional disclosure: I am a significant shareholder and will add to my position after EHA 2019 depending on the updated data released.

biopearl123
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Re: The 2019 Annual Shareholders Meeting: My thoughts.

Post by biopearl123 » Sat Jun 08, 2019 8:00 pm

Secret third arm, thank you for posting and for representing board interests at the shareholders meeting. I offer my opinion regarding the apparent sparse interest and minimal attendance. I am doing the "brief history of time" quickly from memory so I am sure I have left out many of the failures and disappointments that have led to such passing interest in Geron by the market, anyone is welcome to fill in gaps I left. I do not present this to trash what I believe is a company that will have some great success under the guidance of the team Scarlett has expertly assembled but to provide perspective as to why STA found such a small following at the meeting he so kindly attended in representing interests well beyond his own. I unfortunately have this perspective because of my lengthy history with this company and my inability to "let it go" because I see something important here. So here it is:

Secret third arm, to give you some perspective on the ten brave attendees and to address your observation that sparse attendance conveys a message. Of course it does but it also gives us a rare window to avail ourselves of a unique investment opportunity. To that end I offer you a "brief history of time" that led to more Geron managers in the room than shareholders. Lets begin with the company's origin in stem cell research followed by government interdiction and a scramble to use "approved stem cells" accompanied by the fear of animal derived (and potentially virus laden) feeder material. The promise of cell treatment for cardiomyopathy (money spent for ill conceived delivery systems, the obvious outcome of life threatening arrhythmias) are only one of several examples of lost opportunity and squandering of resources. Add to that failed litigation to protect pancreatic stem cell therapy for diabetes. Now on to neurological therapies. The mice walked!! AST no longer exists as originally conceived and BTX is a shadow of its former self. Fortunately JS jettisoned this a long time ago. VAC I and VAC II with it. Then there was therapy for prostate cancer and good data bought for a high price--and abandoned. Then there was the "slam dunk" for Imetelstat for CLL, decades are passing now. Let's move to solid tumor therapies, breast, lung, and the graveyard of failed studies on clinical trials.gov. Now to the hope of glioblastomas and the purchase for 40 M of the therapy to take imetelchat across the blood brain barrier. This didn't work either. How about multiple myeloma? Definitely targeted stem cells, maybe we are getting warmer. No further research. On to the departure of the great OKarma and the arrival of Papa John. We have the hope of CRs and PRs (with recognition by Goldman etc and equity support) and the apparent sly back stabbing of a Mayo filed patent and the burying of this important data. We have the FDA hold in the face of promise. We have the success of Dr. Boerlacher's work and proof of principle but no market. We have the raid on Geron by Janssen, the departure of Sergei, we have the one billion dollar drug on Janssen list, the listing for compassionate use, the compilation of a sales and management team at Janssen and we have the ultimate rejection. We have the threat of acquisition of another company, then abandonment of this idea. We have the promise of AML study of yore, unrealized. We have continued dilution. This my friend Bridge, and to my other gracious friends whom I have been blessed to come to know on this board and for whom I am grateful, is why there were only ten people present at the meeting. And this my friends is why Geron is off everyones radar and can't get no respect. And this is why we are presented with this amazing buying opportunity in a company with renewed purpose, a strong management team and a drug that works to address critical needs. And no one sees it. That is not a bad place to be when investing. Please don't misread the enthusiasm of those few of us who are left. 40 years in the desert is a long time but look what happened after that. bp

Ryan
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Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2017 1:41 pm

Re: The 2019 Annual Shareholders Meeting: My thoughts.

Post by Ryan » Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:44 pm

Great updates.

There really is nothing to add but, let's wait it out.
I think with so many bumps in the road, as detailed by Biopearl, it's incredibly difficult to not be jaded, however cleaning the slate on history it becomes clear that Imetelstat is indeed a "soon-to-be" first-in-class drug with a unique MOA. Definition of "soon to be" is the rub.

Dare I hold out hope for a substantial update this coming week at EHA? But of course I do!

huntingonthebluffs
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Re: The 2019 Annual Shareholders Meeting: My thoughts.

Post by huntingonthebluffs » Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:41 pm

The attendance at the annual meeting was disappointing; however I would think that the actual attendance has in the past and was again dwarfed by those participating via phone or webcast as well as those using the replay. The schedule was not conducive for local shareholders but more appropriate for the rest of the country and beyond to participate online.

Certainly in-person experiences and observations usually have much value regarding things like the actual meeting setting, body language, visible reactions of key personnel of those speaking and beyond the actual speaker. And certainly of importance is the opportunity to ask direct questions and have private discussions before and after the meeting, etc. are usually valuable and can even be priceless. However the vast majority of us do not have the time or desire to put forth the effort and resources as you have done and so generously shared. As a result, we are all grateful and appreciative for your contributions, Secret Third Arm, to the ImetelChat board and to all investors, patients and their advocates and families for in effect representing us to a large degree in person.

Attendance at the meeting should not diminish the fact that knowledgeable and significant shareholders continue to be intensely interested in what happens and is said at the Geron annual meeting and all public events associated with Geron. And from my perspective, the annual meeting is not just a couple hours with stockholders. Yes the annual meeting requires considerable organization, planning and scripting but much more happens around this event that is extremely important as well, while beyond the purview of the public.

The fact that the “entire management team was there” shouldn’t surprise us. These events can provide an important opportunity for many meetings and activities in various settings. These activities occur before and after the annual meeting among the key players, staff, consultants, contractors, major investors, possibly outside KOLs, etc. They will meet to provide updates, focus high level thinking on pressing issues and the key opportunities coming up, plan, strategize and rework as needed the major steps forward, etc. It is also an opportunity for the various levels of employees to improve their teamwork relations, network and be observed and assessed regarding their talents and considered for future assignments. Certainly the annual meeting itself, voting, reports, Q&A, etc. are important and gave us signs of much more to come but the event itself is slightly more than the tip of the iceberg as to what likely has transpired around this event internally at Geron.

So I would just say that on my Geron journey I’ve learned, in the biotech world there are many battles. Often the final outcome doesn’t please everyone as both losers and winners will abound along the way. It costs millions, even billions and years to get answers, both favorable and unfavorable. It requires supporters and KOLs on many tiers, several here on the ImetelChat board. Investors of all types and motives provide some navigational assistance that benefits us along the way; some must have deep pockets of course however all serious investors in any company generally have some passion and level of staying power mentality.

So while Secret Third Arm and biopeal are of course accurate in their assessment that the attendance at the annual meeting was disappointing, probably even indicating Geron is now off the radar for some. Yet amazingly, here we are with, as biopearl says, “an amazing buying opportunity” and “no one sees it”. Yes absolutely! Being invested in biotech stocks one should always know that our greatest return is possible when we can recognize that perception doesn’t match reality. So I would say biopearl, it isn’t your inability to let go, it is your ability to hold on fully knowing reality is about to dawn.

biopearl123
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Re: The 2019 Annual Shareholders Meeting: My thoughts.

Post by biopearl123 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:29 pm

Hunt, thank you for the encouraging words. I think you may have just succeeded in turning around my world view! bp

bucbeard
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Re: The 2019 Annual Shareholders Meeting: My thoughts.

Post by bucbeard » Tue Jun 11, 2019 2:28 am

love this thread! thank you Geron friends.

The journey continues...

karagozoglu12345
Posts: 52
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2018 12:48 am

Re: The 2019 Annual Shareholders Meeting: My thoughts.

Post by karagozoglu12345 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:25 pm

Bp and Hunt, I wish I could share your optimism and enthusiasm. Sitting on close to ½ million $ loss begs optimism and conformation bias to keep sane. Unfortunately, I do have concerns going forward. I think false optimism (I do hope your optimism is in effect a “real” optimism) is as dysfunctional as pessimism.

I am not sure low attendance to shareholder meeting has to do with long history of setbacks. Truth be told, I have been investing in Geron since shortly before cd, had no knowledge of the log history of set backs, and if I had more money to invest I would not choose Geron. I believe, setbacks of past couple of years are challenging enough to make people gun shy of investing in Geron. There ought to be a rational reason why share price is at the low end of a penny stock range. Funds and institutions have due diligence power. Obviously, they prefer not to invest in Gern stock because they don’t see significant profitability in the horizon as compare to other biotech stocks. In a CC few months ago, one of the presentation slides stated Geron’s expectation of revenue from MDS market is 500M. In comparison to other cancer biotech drug’s potential revenues, 500 M does not fare well. MF market is even smaller. I believe one of the reasons J&J discontinued has to do with the revenue potential possibly not large enough to justify risk. Another culprit is the one trick pony aspect. All of Geron’s eggs are in one basket. One would have wished the company initially worked on different formulations and delivery systems of Imetelstat for different indications to spread the risk but unfortunately, that had not happened. Geron should have insisted on using Imet for frontline treatment in the MF trial as a precondition for partnership with J&J but did not take place. It is all speculation at this point but I venture to guess that the former and latter actions would have made Geron’s future much brighter.

I have been critical of Geron’s management but I understand that majority of posters support management and very few has agreed with my criticism. In retrospect, I am not sure if management can do much beyond their plans. Having said that, I am still unhappy with them for not having been forthcoming vis a vis the unfortunate misleading events at J&J and their preference for holding information and stonewalling. Perhaps, Dr. Scarlett is thinking about possible strategic actions to increase value but his hands may be tight. First of all, financing new initiatives is a huge hurdle- almost all possible strategies that add significant value will require ample resources. At current stock price levels raising funds is not feasible. I believe management is, as we are, hoping to get MF indication approved at the beginning of next year, and they expect revenues from Imet sale to MF patients will help complete the MDS trial and possibly plan and initiate new trials involving combos, new delivery system, AML indication and so on. I think if FDA grants conditional approval for MF indication next year, that would be a phenomenal event and it will put Geron on the map. We would then see a significant share price increase. Call me pessimistic, but initiation of MDS Phase III may not affect the share price significantly. Biotech investing is all about anticipation and now it is clear to all potential investors that MDS Phase III is imminent. Yet, we still trading at dollar and change.
Is MF approval next year this a slam-dunk expectation? I reckon no. If it were we would be trading much higher now.

Gwikley
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Re: The 2019 Annual Shareholders Meeting: My thoughts.

Post by Gwikley » Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:47 am

Thank you for your devotion and excellent summary of your take, and interactions, at the meeting!! Kudos!

Secret Third Arm
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Re: The 2019 Annual Shareholders Meeting: My thoughts.

Post by Secret Third Arm » Thu Jun 13, 2019 2:59 pm

Hi karagozoglu12345,

Just to touch on one point you mentioned:

"Geron should have insisted on using Imet for frontline treatment in the MF trial as a precondition for partnership with J&J but did not take place."

I think Dr. Rizo did an excellent job of addressing this point once and for all. They (JNJ, Janssen, Geron management, etc.) believed that because of the endpoints established by Jakafi, specifically spleen reduction, Imetelstat would not have done well in a front line trial. The idea that the drug could have changed the existing approval paradigm to overall survival was a less safe bet in frontline than it was in relapsed/refractory. She as much as said that when she pointed out that many drugs choose to first focus on an unserved patient population before attempting approval in the larger, non-relapsed population.

I'd much rather be where we are right now than still with JNJ but having failed to reduce spleen size in a frontline trial. If you recall, the IMBARK twelve week data review didn't show any significant spleen reduction and that's when the low dose arm was dropped and the share price suffered. Imagine if that was in a frontline population. It might have been the death knell for the trial, but because this was a r/r population, the overall survival endpoint became far more relevant since that isn't something that could have been sufficiently established as a benefit of Imetelstat in a frontline population, which can live for many years.

I'm no cheerleader, but I do believe that as painful and long as this process has been we have learned valuable things about Imetelstat in r/r MF. I think that patients in this particular group desperately need an alternative to death, which it seems that Imetelstat may be. It's for that reason that I can't see that a placebo controlled Phase 3 could be ethical, and I don't see how denying this drug to patients with 12 months to live can be justified. I believe approval is a matter of "when" and not "if" and I am therefore invested for the foreseeable future.

karagozoglu12345
Posts: 52
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2018 12:48 am

Re: The 2019 Annual Shareholders Meeting: My thoughts.

Post by karagozoglu12345 » Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:10 pm

Secret Thrid Arm: Thank you for raising good points in response to my post. I do agree with you that approval of Imet for MF is certainly in the horizon and imminent at some point. I am also encouraged that most recent trial results warrant further investigation of Imet in high risk MDS in addion to low risk patients.
My rationale for Imet as frontilne therapy has to do with the highly touted Tefferi/Mayo study that has focused on early and intermediate stage patients.
Replicating what has worked very well could have been a safer bet for a one trick pony company like Geron. And, it could have have been studied as a combo with Jakafi in addition to standalone treatment to compare its best effect. On the other hand, we also know from Phase II Imbark that Imet as a standalone therapy does not seem to work well on the symptoms of MF patients and for this reason J&J/Geron's focus on the R/R patient group, in hindsight, makes sense. The latter reasoning, however, leaves an unanswered question as to why was the Tefferi Mayo study considered very successful if Imet does not help with the symptoms of the disease? Wasn't J&J's motivation for partnership with Geron inspired by the Tefferi/Mayo results in the first place? And, what is the mechanism of action by which Imet prolongs life without healing the symptoms? In any human disease, generally, when a drug addresses underlying cause of the disease, symptoms eventually get better. It is a mystery to me that Imet is powerful enough to significantly prolongs life and yet the symptoms remain. I think understanding this would be very helpful for the patients and success of Geron going forward.

Secret Third Arm
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Re: The 2019 Annual Shareholders Meeting: My thoughts.

Post by Secret Third Arm » Sun Jun 16, 2019 4:04 pm

karagozoglu12345,

You make excellent points. The Mayo trial results showed disease modification and remission, which I believe was the reason for the excitement at JNJ. However, even though Imetelstat destroyed most of the progenitor clones and cleared the bone marrow, I'm not sure what effect (if any) it had on the spleen. It may be that those patients took much longer for their spleens to heal and reduce size, or it may be that their spleens did not recover.

What I do know is that enlarged spleens are a side effect of MF and not where the disease resides. As you may know, MPNs cause fibrosis in the bone marrow which interferes with the body's ability to make red blood cells. When that happens, the spleen takes over and compensates by trying to make red blood cells on it's own, which causes a painful enlargement in that organ. With Imetelstat, Mayo saw a clearing of this marrow fibrosis which allowed red cells to once again be produced in the bone marrow.

We don't know how the body works, but just because the spleen did not immediately get the message that all was well again with the bone marrow should not be a determining factor in how well Imetelstat works. Maybe once the spleen is recruited for red blood cell production it can't be turned off from producing those cells without some other outside force acting on it (Jakafi?). Maybe it just takes time for the spleen to reduce itself in size, more time even than was allowed in the Phase 1.

In cases where patients resume making red blood cells in the marrow again and the disease is essentially eradicated, the spleen then becomes a secondary concern, not the primary issue that the FDA seems to insist on measuring. In fact, patients who are CR or PR as seen in the Mayo trial have other options regarding their spleens. Spleen removal is actually not altogether uncommon in MF patients where Jakafi is no longer effective and the enlarged spleen is too painful and has an effect on quality of life. Therefore, it's not difficult to imagine that a patient on Imetelstat whose marrow has cleared and is making red blood cells again but whose spleen has not been reduced in size would be a prime candidate for spleen removal, since it is the natural progression even if their marrow does not clear.

So what I'm saying is that the FDA seems to insist on measuring the wrong metric. The obsession with spleen size is why I think JNJ got spooked when they did not immediately see Imetelstat shrink the spleen. Whether they like it or not, they are thinking in terms of FDA approval, which the current MF guidelines say is determined by spleen reduction. Ironically, that goal post was set because there has never been a drug that can actually modify the disease. Now that it appears that Imetelstat can do so, the onus is on us to show that the previous endpoint of spleen reduction is irrelevant.

I think JNJ was looking for a slam dunk based on existing endpoints and when faced with the longer road to approval as well as a partnership with Geron and Scarlett which could have proven quite costly, they cut bait and ran. If you or a loved one had MF (God forbid) wouldn't you ask for Imetelstat and a splenectomy instead of Jakafi? I know I would.

karagozoglu12345
Posts: 52
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2018 12:48 am

Re: The 2019 Annual Shareholders Meeting: My thoughts.

Post by karagozoglu12345 » Sun Jun 16, 2019 9:48 pm

Secret Third Arm: Thank you for clarifying my concerns. Having read your thorough assessment, the picture is clearer to me.
In my view, beyond the obvious, the most recent presentations reflect two pivotal points: a) Confirmation and emphasis of the effect of Imet on the malignant clone; b) According to Dr. Fenaux MDS data possibly warrant investigation of Imet for higher risk MDS patients (Dr. Fenaux stressed sicker of the R/R MDS patients continue to increasingly benefit from Imet). These two key aspects may be a catalyst to open the floodgates for the use of Imet for all MF and MDS patients as a frontline medicine (perhaps and most likely in combo) to delay progression to AML and extend life. Inevitably, should all goes well with the FDA approval of Imet for MF R/R early next year, the potential is huge. My only worry as an investor is the other telomarese inhibitor drugs Cheng/Bill has been posting about for sometime. I have not looked into this competitive factor closely yet.
I believe the current stock price woes has everything to do with J&J 's discontinuation decision. There had been a prevalent blind faith on J&J's judgement. I invested in Geron shortly before cd mainly because of a friend's recommentation. He owned 1 million shares and had a strong belief that J&J would continue. When I brought up critical views, the focal point of his response was J&J knows what they are doing and if the investment is good enough for J&J it should be good enough for everyone. And, of course, the infamous misleading signals were a propellar of high investment activity at that time. Subsequent to the J&J's termination of partnership the investor community has held quite the opposite view and closed their eyes on everything else however positive the new information may be. So the logic went: If it was NOT good enough for J&J to continue, then it must be a BAD investment. I believe, Geron's KOL event scheduled to take place on June 25 is the smartest move Geron management has made so far. I think this event will highlight the key role of Imet in fighting the underlying cause of the blood cancers, extending life way beyond the effect of any of the currently available medicines in MF and potentially in MDS, delaying progression to AML and treating AML. As such, I believe and hope that the investor community and oncology doctors will tune in to the KOL event on June 25 and learn the potential of Imet from the leading experts. Again, I hope that this event will be instrumental to dispell the bad omen created by J&J's discontinuation. If my thoughts are not far fetched, we should see a significant pop in the share price after the event.

huntingonthebluffs
Posts: 138
Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2016 12:00 am

Re: The 2019 Annual Shareholders Meeting: My thoughts.

Post by huntingonthebluffs » Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:44 am

karagozoglu12345, I wanted to comment on a couple of your earlier thoughts above. I might be wrong but I think some (not all) of your major concerns are built around “opinions” about what was causal to the stock price debacle and less related to Imetelstat’s science, CT and pre-CT results or what Geron executives have stated, presented or indicated is in their strategy and plans and why. While I can emphasize with your investment losses I have never lost confidence in the science or the strength and intentions of John Scarllet regarding Geron or Imetelstat and the majority of that is not confirmation bias related. Large investment returns and losses usually affects my biases and thinking, however in this case, the news and progress has been essentially positive and the ebb and flow has been ever progressing forward towards commercialization. JNJ has never been high on my list, it has been the one part of this journey that I have always been uneasy about while some of those reasons I admit are personal.

In the biotech investing arena I have scars, like most here, but I now realize I needed to be better prepared before investing in biotech. Better prepared mentally for the ebb and flow, for the nature of the competitive combat and “the long game”, the regulatory mesh and seemingly endless options and drills to prove and convince the powers to be and the seemingly infinite considerations while digging deep to truly understand the lifeline that the company is built around. This situation seems to leave everyone on all sides second guessing everything that happens or not. Is that all due to Geron steps or missteps? I don’t think so. This has also left the door wide open for fraudulent pumping as well as bashing.

If I maybe did one thing correct with Geron, I didn’t invest heavily quickly. I have invested in Geron gradually over many years as my confidence in the science increased and my average stock price is now about $2.05 not counting Option losses, which are considerable adding approximately $0.50 to my average. I found out about Imetelstat and Geron from a relative who eventually died from MF but I have listened and studied ad infinitum since to build my confidence in Imetelstat and Geron. You may have followed a different path and invested your half million plus fairly quickly and based heavily on your friend’s advice/example and at a higher strike price. While I thought JNJ/Janssen added some safety to my investment, I never liked JNJ/Janssen’s behavior, miniscule dribble of information, hiding and never explaining or allowing Geron to explain the many why’s most investors had while the pumpers and dumpers pillaged endlessly. If anything I’m more positive on the success of Imetelstat, Geron and my investment at this juncture.

So while you might describe me as one who has false optimism or excessive confirmation bias, I think I have earned my confidence in Imetelstat, and Geron for that matter, the “old fashioned way”. I am not a scientist but personally have read scores of studies, etc. using Imetelstat’s “technology”. The fact that it is a first in class, has years of CT experience and results that are advancing rapidly on multiple blood cancers and demonstrating remarkable results and will likely prove effective in combinations on many other types of cancers over the next decade and likely beyond.

Lastly, your comment about Imetelstat / Geron being a one trick pony maybe concerns me the most. While one might see a polio or measles vaccine as a one trick pony, would you say Imetelstat is in the same category? Thinking closer to home, the drugs that Imeletstat is in competition with, do they have the potential to cure anything, even in combinations at any level even remotely close to Imetelstat’s scope? If you can point the drug at many different diseases, is it still a one trick pony? So logically, I don’t think you can call Geron a company with a one trick pony either! I might be going off the deep end with “forward looking statements” to compare Imetelstat to penicillin for example, look where that started and where it led us. I might continue even farther off the deep end about where humanity was when the power and potential of electricity or computers first came into our realm. Is it possible that “Imetelstat is bigger than all of us”? I’m not the one to make, agree or disagree with JS’s statement on that, however while he may be putting Imetelstat in the category with electricity and computers, many will at least agree we are at the frontend of something major here. This we know, there will be advances in biotechnology developing better versions of telomerase inhibitors and its use with other compounds, just like penicillin, electricity and computers have evolved and expanded usages beyond our past and current imagination and understanding. And I think our best chance for that to happen is with JS and Geron. False optimism, maybe; but I didn’t get here over night.

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