TheStreetSweeper Exposes Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation


Tekmira Pharmaceuticals got a lot of free PR a few months ago during the Ebola scare last spring, as the firm was developing a treatment for the dreaded and highly transmissible disease. Tekmira’s share price hit a high of $28 on March 6th and slid back down when it turned out the government was working with three firms developing Ebola treatments and treated a few Americans with an experimental drug from Mapp Biopharmaceuticals.

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According to investigative research firm TheStreetSweeper, investors should be wary of Tekmira given the company and its management’s track record, and especially wary given the recent spike in share price after the announcement of its merger with OnCore to develop a hepatitis B therapy.

OnCore has shady history

Sonya Colberg, Senior Investigative Reporter for TheStreetSweeper, notes that OnCore was “started as an afterthought in 2012, after a co-founder had already sold off its desirable product – a hepatitis C treatment.”

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She says that OnCore bought its way into existence and provides a brief chronology of how things went down:

Oncore made a deal in September 2014 to make $150 million in milestone payments, and pay future royalties on any future drug sales, for NeuroVive Pharmaceutical’s hepatitis B drug candidate.

Then in October 2014, Oncore made an undisclosed cash offer to buy Enantigen Therapeutics who developed the experimental hepatitis B treatment. Coincidentally, both OnCore and Enantigen are located in the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center outside of Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

In November 2014, OnCore filed fan initial public offering that never materialized.

Colberg doesn’t mince words with her opinion of the Tekmira – OnCore merger: “So the situation comes down to Tekmira buying a company after it had already sold its big idea and then paid mightily for other companies’ ideas. We don’t believe this merger target can possibly be worth $400 million.”

Tekmira has no approved products in 22 years

TheStreetSweeper report also notes that since its founding 22+ years ago, Tekmira has tried to develop nine products.

To date, the three most advanced candidates for Tekmira have only reached Phase II, and the Ebola treatment that got all the hype for Tekmira last spring is only in Phase I.

Five products (including another Ebola treatment) haven’t even made it through pre-clinical testing yet.

Colberg also points out that Tekmira still faces several years of clinical trials with its new hepatitis B candidate, and even after the trials are complete, there is no certainty of FDA approval or success in bringing the treatment to market.

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  1. This is really a stupid, unprofessional analysis. Shame on the author. Mr. Browne should stick to science fiction and poker. In this so-called article he fails to mention that the co-developer of Gilead’s renowned Hepatitis C drug Sovaldi is cofounder of Oncore and will be chief scientific officer of Tekmira after the merger – the cofounder is more than qualified to lead the development of a HepB therapy after successfully co-developing the Gilead Hep C therapy which is recognized as the world’s best.
    It is also VERY appropriate for an R&D startup to acquire other ventures to secure patent rights and provide research already in progress or completed, which saves years of development time. Oncore was very smart to incorporate proven research from other biotechs, just as it is very smart to combine Oncore and Tekmira to provide the “three pillars” of Hepatitis B therapy. The Tekmira strategy is to provide a therapy/cocktail of drugs that will not only cure Hepatitis B in victims who are chronic/reinfected sufferers, but will also immunize them against re-infection. Chronic Hepatitis B is a serious disease, a critically important international health challenge, and a blockbuster market. This is an ambitious research goal that was quickly put into Phase I clinical trials by Tekmira, and will of course take time to develop, like ALL biotech breakthrough drugs.
    Tekmira (TKMR) has pulled together a remarkable set of researchers, patents, research approaches and resources. It has the funding and talent to achieve its goals. There is nothing here to “investigate” and hopefully Tekmira with the addition of Oncore’s resources, will be successful in achieving their important medical goals.

  2. What a rag. So merging with management who’s pedigree is that they developed and sold Sovaldi and then sold pharmasset for 10B to Gild bc they developed Sovaldi is a negative? They hit a grand slam with Hep C and now are working to do the same with Hep B. Yes what a terribly sordid history. (sarcasm off). Streetsweeper is the worst of the worst in twisting the truth to attempt to manipulate a stock.

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