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Author: davefeatherstone Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 24974  
Subject: Re: "The One Thing" about Biotech Date: 6/27/2000 1:29 PM
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Rule Breaker hosted a Biotech-related chat last night and beforehand we asked some Fools, "What is the one thing that you believe most people don't know (or think about) regarding biotech, but should!?" Following are the answers of three Fools:

[answers from Zeke Ashton, Bart Janssen, and Greg Carlin deleted, but original post is at: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?id=1020007001460000&sort=postdate]


-----

Interesting. I too (along with Zeke, Bart, and Greg) was asked for my opinion on "the one thing...", and gave a prompt and (I thought) well-written, well-reasoned answer, for which I was thanked.

However, my answer was never mentioned in either the chat or Jeff's post, which contains everyone else's answer. Yes, my reply was the only one of the four that TMF chose to ignore. I'm curious why. Did Dave Gardner quash it because of my criticisms (on another board) of his bullish-but-content-lite CRA rule-breaker articles? Was it because I specifically faulted the media for most investors' misunderstandings of biotech? (A recent independent study showed 85% of medical news reports inflated the importance of the findings or misrepresented the statistics.) Was it because of my recent bearishness on CRA?

Seriously, Jeff. I'm really curious about why my answers were discarded. If they just plain sucked, tell me. Hey -- it's not my company. You can do what you want. But next time you want my input, you can PAY for it, like everybody else. I am a professional biology reseacher and bioinformatics/DNA microarray consultant, and my consulting fees are normally $200/hr. Plus, when companies want to send me to Japan to train their distributors in DNA microarray technology or Merck invites me out to talk, they PAY ME. (both are real invitations I've received in the last week or two; I turned Japan down).

I have SERIOUS concerns about TMF staff's objectivity in regard to biotech stocks, and Celera Genomics in particular. TMF is a product of the recent years' phenomenal bull market; their strategies are NOT well proven. If they really want to stay around as a valid source of investing info, they need to insure that they act a little less like a bunch of college kids enjoying their internet company and a bull market and a little more like a responsible financial advise business.

For the record: I enjoy participating on these boards, where I'm able to refine and get feedback on my thoughts, learn loads from other people, and generally be entertained. I wouldn't be here if I wasn't getting something out of it (investment education, fun, and yea -- the occasional ego stroke). But I am not about to become a TMF wench like poor ElricSeven, whom I greatly respect but seems so... so... indentured lately.

For those who want to see it, here is the entire email exchange between TMF Jeff and I (my emails contain my anser to the above question):

Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2000 17:25:04 -0400
From: Jeff Fischer <JeffF@fool.com>
To: Greg Carlin <GCarlin@fool.com>, Zeke Ashton <ZAshton@fool.com>,
"'featherstone@biology.utah.edu'" <featherstone@biology.utah.edu>,
"'bjanssen@hort.cri.nz'" <bjanssen@hort.cri.nz>
Subject: Biotech Chat Lead-in

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Greetings Greg, Zeke, Dave and Bart,

As you may know, David and I are hosting a chat about Biotech on Monday
night, and David had the wonderfully Foolish idea of asking each of you for
quick input that we can use as lead-ins to topics during the chat. What we
would do is this: I'll ask you one question right now. If you agree to
participate, you'll return your answer to me by Monday before noon or so.


Then, in the chat (because Yahoo technology won't allow us to call you onto
the stage with us), spaced over the hour, we're going to share your answer
(of course along with your name for credit if you agree to let us do that),
and we'll use your thoughts as a starting point into a discussion. It'll be
like this in the chat: "David Gardner: And here is what Greg Carlin, Fool
and Soapbox writer, said in response to our question: "XXXXXXX". Now let's
talk about that."

Got it? Simple enough? Cool!

Now, the question is this (and we know this is difficult, but we're hoping
you can be very brief and answer in one paragraph):
What is one thing that you believe most people don't know about biotech --
and should know?


Think about that for a while. In essence, we want to help teach people how
to think about biotech, and how to think about investing in biotech. If that
question is too complex, please, share any thoughts you'd like to share for
this chat, in a single paragraph, and we'll use them in the chat to make it
more interactive, dynamic and interesting, and to give us topics and get
your name out there, too (if you so desire that).

Thank you, Fools. We hope that you can send thoughts back to us by Monday,
and ideally answer the question. :) Fool on!

Jeff, and Jeff for David


Jeff Fischer
The Motley Fool, Inc. (www.fool.com), to Educate, Amuse, Enrich
Portfolio Manager (http://www.fool.com/strategies.htm)
Stock Research Writer (http://www.fool.com/research/)

Direct Investing Book
(http://www.foolmart.com/market/product.asp?pfid=MF+017)
Direct phone: 703.706.0439
For dinner reservations, please call two days in advance.

---------

ate: Fri, 23 Jun 2000 16:32:39 -1300
From: Dave Featherstone <FEATHERSTONE@BIOSEQ>
To: Jeff Fischer <JeffF@fool.com>
Subject: Re: Biotech Chat Lead-in


Hi Jeff,

> What is one thing that you believe most people don't know about biotech --
> and should know?
>
>
> Think about that for a while. In essence, we want to help teach people how
> to think about biotech, and how to think about investing in biotech. If that

Actually, a method/process for 'thinking about biotech' is exactly the
subject of the soapbox article I'm working on, so I have thought a lot about
this lately.


feel strongly that the answer is very clear. The problem has even been
highlighted by the media lately, who admit to contributing to the problem.


The major pitfall for biotech investors is hype.

Progress in biotechnology, like many science-driven pursuits, is incremental
and even agonizingly slow compared to the rapid pace of
engineering-driven industry. This is particularly true for anything
medical or food related, since these products must undergo drawn out
clinical testing and/or regulatory approval. Individual researchers and
companies rightfully celebrate milestones along the long road to a final
product, but often this progress is overinflated or (worse)
misinterpreted by the media and latched on to by a hopeful public. Don't
get me wrong; I believe firmly that biotech is a sector whose earnings are
going to increase exponentially, driven by recent advances in molecular
physiology, genomics, and bioinformatics. But the wise investor will
avoid the hype, and do careful research. Profits in biotech come the
same way as for any other business: The company has to provide a good
product or service and sell it to a lot of people. Investors should
always ask themselves "What are this company's products? Who are they
selling to? How much more are they likely to sell?" The ability to cure
cancer doesn't make a good company. The ability to SELL that cure does.

----------


Date: Sat, 24 Jun 2000 15:06:32 -1300
From: Dave Featherstone <FEATHERSTONE@BIOSEQ>
To: Jeff Fischer <JeffF@fool.com>
Subject: Re: Biotech Chat Lead-in


Hi again Jeff,

I notice the biotech chat will probably be steered toward Celera. I
think it's important that sometime near the beginning of leading into a
discussion of Celera, that you guys make clear that Celera is really not
a traditional biotech. The accurate term, of course, is
'bioinformatics', a relatively new field which, in regard to business,
should be considered alongside informations service/database/etc.
companies, rather than 'normal' biotechs or pharmaceutical companies,
which sell a bioengineered product -- a 'thing'. Celera is a
bio-information company. A service company, that (they hope) will be
used by academic researchers, 'normal biotechs', and pharmaceutical companies. Calling Celera a biotech seems like lumping a hotel-cleaning
service in with the hotel industry. Certainly, their successes are
connected, but they are not the same.

There is a lot of confusion about Celera's business plan, I think,
displayed by both CRA bulls and bears. Basically, their biggest source
of revenue is planned to be their bioinformatics services. Like
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/, but (hopefully for Celera) better.

Basically, I stick by my previous answer, but just wanted to throw that
in in regard to Celera.

-Dave

------------


Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2000 10:31:11 -0400
From: Jeff Fischer <JeffF@fool.com>
To: "'FEATHERSTONE@biology.utah.edu'" <FEATHERSTONE@biology.utah.edu>
Subject: RE: Biotech Chat Lead-in

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Dave,

Great thoughts. We'll do that indeed, regarding CRA.

Best,
Jeff

Jeff Fischer




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