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Msg  202 of 213  at  6/30/2019 3:13:37 PM  by


my mid-year review of BTX

INTRO Here's my semi-annual exercise to see if I remember why I own the stocks I own, and so I can check back and see if their stories have changed. I post in case it helps others too.


BTX (market cap is $0.165B but $AST was $0.035B)

Asterias is an advanced biotech - oh, wait. I owned AST but BioTime just bought/merged/re-acquired Asterias to bring the advanced biotech back under their corporate control. So, welcome to my learning experience. “BioTime is a clinical-stage

biotechnology company developing novel cell therapies.” I’m most familiar with the stem cell work that was being done by Asterias for helping heal spinal cord and other nerve injuries (Phase II), and somewhat familiar with Asterias’ work on cancer treatments (telomeres for lung cancer, to start). Now I know that BioTime is also working on treatments for macular degeneration (vision impairment) and “facial volume restoration” (filling in when facial fat deposits deplete for various reasons). The work I knew of as stem cell work (that BioTime labels pluripotent cells or progenitor cells - possibly avoiding trigger words, or fundamentally something different?) is the most appealing to me because of the large unmet market, also as a proof of concept for other applications.

Despite acquiring other companies, BioTime remains a small company (market cap < $200M). If Asterias had succeeded independently as an even smaller company (market cap < $30M), the stock price would have produced a significantly higher return. BioTime is small enough that the return will be appreciable, but at roughly 1/7th the stock price return. There is an improvement in diversification within the larger firm, which is a benefit. All of BioTime’s products, however, are at most in Phase II trials, not Phase III, and possibly years from FDA approval and profitability. Guessing when to buy in is difficult with treatments that are as emotionally resonant as helping accident victims regain use of their limbs. Public sentiment can be as important in the short term as technical advancements.

DISCLOSURE LTBH by habit, but having to remember that my BTX holdings (2019) came from AST (2014) which was spun off from GERN (which I’ve held since 1999). I hear patience pays, but it is easy to have doubts after twenty years of waiting.

(I've also collected links to the other discussion boards and my other stocks over on my blog

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