*None of this should be taken as financial advice. This information is for education purposes only.
**I have positions in Unity Biotechnology, Mesoblast, and AgeX Therapeutics.
*WARNING: Investing in biotechnology is risky!
Here’s a breakdown of some key opinions on the recent UBX0101 Phase II trial failure and senescent cell therapies in general.
José Luis Ricón writes epics — not the Homeric kind — but rather the longevity science review kind. I highly recommend you check out his Longevity FAQ and Epigenetic Clocks review on his blog. Also his video summary on longevity science.
Here are the main takeaways of why he thinks UBX’s Phase II might have failed:
Like others in this roundup Ricón believes that this one failed trial is not the nail in the coffin for senolytics:
“I think senolytics remain a valid and interesting therapeutic avenue, and the results of this test don’t change that at all.”
Reason is the author of the Fight Aging! blog and also the co-founder of Repair Biotechnologies. Here’s his speculation as to why UBX0101 failed:
Reason is still very optimistic on senolytics in general:
“Overall, the animal data, and other human data, for the use of senolytics to reverse age-related pathology is compelling. Very compelling. It is unfortunate that the first attempt at bringing an approach to the clinic failed, but numerous other groups are out there working on the problem, and most of them have what look to be better approaches to the challenge.”
Highlights from his EARD 2020 Keynote talk. Video isn’t posted publicly yet.
For those who are too lazy to read anything, I found a great YouTube video by Eleanor Sheekey explaining the background of senescent cells and UBX0101.
This is one of Nassim’s Taleb’s aphorisms. Talk is cheap.
Financial market commentators can say whatever they want but it is meaningless without any skin in the game. (How much money did Jim Cramer have in Bear Stearns?)
So what’s in my (liquid) portfolio? Let’s take a look:
You might be surprised that longevity biotech is such a low percentage of my portfolio.
No matter how passionate you are about longevity, the reality is we are still very early for publicly-traded longevity biotech markets. There are perhaps only 10 investible pure play longevity stocks — not great for diversification. Remember biotech is a numbers game.
If we use a conservative estimate of a 90% company fail rate we might expect only one company to succeed long term out of the 10 currently investible stocks. This is not much margin from zero. Non-ergodicity is a bitch.
So at the moment I am investing only what I am willing to lose. If it all goes to zero then I will consider it a donation to longevity science.
However, I do not anticipate my longevity stocks allocation to stay at 1 – 2% forever.
As the longevity industry grows and more companies are go public I will increase my allocation. And if any one of the three following mega-longevity companies go public I would instantly double my allocation (at a minimum):
You might ask why I should bother putting so much time into reading and writing about longevity companies when it only makes up ~1 – 2% of my portfolio. And now when there are so few public companies.
Well there are three reasons:
Let me tell you a tragic story about how important it is to be knowledgeable before the bubble hits:
Back in the summer of 2015 I decided it would be fun to invest in Bitcoin. It was $230 at the time. Unfortunately, my investment was small since I was recently a destitute physics Ph.D dropout turned backpacker. But more importantly I didn’t really understand Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies then.
It wasn’t until years later that I scrambled to read up on crypto during the massive 2017 bubble. As my knowledge increased, I became more confident in the space and the investment thesis. And even though I had more income and knowledge to invest by then, the opportunity to buy bitcoin at those “low” prices had passed.
So it goes.
It takes time to learn new stuff. And in exponential technologies, when you start mastering the field can make the biggest difference.
Break out them horoscopes. It’s time to see whether or not the planets have aligned for these stocks.
Unity Biotechnology’s stock crashed 76% before making a 7% pop on Monday this week. This is now a very attractive stock for me to trade. I find it is always an added bonus to trade a stock that you wouldn’t mind holding. If your trade doesn’t go as planned you can always just hold the stock instead of getting stopped out.
I was actually watching UBX last week with the 4h chart. For some reason this time scale works well with TD sequential after large discontinuous movements in price. It works well on IPOs too when there is little to no price history (check out RKT, ALXO, VRM on the 4h)
As you can see UBX looks like it could have bottomed perfectly a week after the drop on a TD sequential 9 reversal indicator. It looks very similar to the kind of post-trial-implosion that resTORbio (TORC) faced in 2019.
In resTORbio’s case, the stock went on to rise 62% over the next two months. Obviously UBX could do something completely different. But things that drop quickly can rally with stunning momentum as well. A short 1 week-to-bottom would not be unheard of in biotech.
It seems likely that Unity has enough cash to get their UBX1325 eye degeneration senolytic to trial. Phase I is scheduled for this year so I believe the stock could be higher around by the time that day draws near. By how much? Who knows.
This 3D bioprinting stock announced a 20-1 reverse stock split and dropped 45% on the week. Nothing can go straight down forever so there will be a bounce eventually. If the TD sequential indicator is triggered this week it might be an interesting trade on Friday (or Thursday end of day).
Zooming out to the full historical chart, this stock looks like an absolute train wreck. It was certainly one of Jim Mellon’s worst picks in his recommended Juvenescence stock portfolios. Not sure why ARK Invest likes it so much either (ARKG).
This stem cell therapy stock has taken a major beating in the past week. It’s also down almost 50% from its highs in April. It could bounce off the 200 day moving average within the next day or two, especially now that we are getting close to a reversal indicator on the 4h chart.
This mitochondrial / neurodegenerative disease therapy stock has seen better days. It still hasn’t really recovered from its 92% drop in December 2019. However as a trade it is getting close to a reversal of momentum with what could be a double TD 9 after a 30% drop. This stock trades pretty thinly though, so beware.
I have finally reached a critical milestone in my longevity writing career: My first Twitter troll. I am flattered.
Never trust anyone that uses that many air quotes “ “ in one sentence.