I am reproducing this article here without permission – it is reproduced verbatim without editing or changes. The Daily Reckoning is a subscription that Walter used to read regularly and that I have maintained through the years. Although primarily an investment newsletter they keep a uniquely interesting eye on current political and economic events and often have editorials such as the one below. I would like to hear your comments on this one . . .

The Daily Reckoning Weekend Edition

Saturday, November 27, 2010
Houston, Texas

  • Bet Big Pharma to the bank on the next medical breakthrough,
  • Bolstering your own portfolio with some disruptive technology,
  • Plus, all this past week’s reckonings, archived for your tryptophan-induced, post-turducken, food coma-time entertainment…

Joel’s Note: Your weekend editor is holed up in Houston International Airport this morning, waging war with TSA goons, nursing a post in-flight service headache and desperately seeking a smoking lounge that doesn’t require venturing back through the government-sponsored molestation gauntlet that is the security checkpoint.

But even if the situation were better, say, if we were relaxing on a stooge-free resort beach in Mexico’s pristine Puerto Vallarta, we would STILL be happy to turn this weekend’s editorial duties over to Mr. Patrick Cox. Patrick’s enthusiasm for – and extensive knowledge of – the technological advancements shaping our world always make for fascinating reads. His weekend guest essay, below, is no different. Please enjoy…

“Next Generation” Vaccines

By Patrick Cox

In the early 1990s, DNA vaccines for the treatment and prevention of diseases first emerged. Excitement about this technology was matched only by unrealistic expectations regarding the timeline to market. Interest was driven, however, by the real potential of the technology. For the first time, “unvaccinatable” targets like HIV and hepatitis C were in the bull’s-eye. Traditional vaccine technology, using live or inactivated viruses, simply did not provide a viable way to provoke a protective immune response against these diseases.

Moreover, DNA vaccines could be used against diseases other than their historical target: viruses. Early on, it dawned on researchers that this new generation of vaccines could be used to train the immune system to attack cancers and a wide range of other malignancies that act like foreign invaders inside the body.

Conventional vaccines work by causing the body’s immune system to recognize unique antigenic proteins that are part of the virus, triggering an immune response against the invader. The elegance of DNA vaccines is that, rather than introducing into the body an actual virus, only the antigen is introduced. Scientists realized that they could turn cells in the body into protein-manufacturing plants. By isolating the DNA responsible for producing ONLY the foreign antigenic protein associated with a specific virus, they could get around various issues associated with live or weakened viruses.

Big Pharma companies like Merck, Wyeth and GlaxoSmithKline, as well as national labs and academic research facilities poured billions into a “first wave” attempt at producing commercially viable DNA vaccines. Problems delivering the DNA vaccines in a way that provoked a sufficient immune response soon dampened their enthusiasm.

Two basic problems prevented the development of truly effective DNA vaccines. The first was an immature understanding of genetics. In those days, researchers were only beginning to learn how to optimize the DNA sequences to produce antigens with maximum impact. Additionally, there was the familiar “delivery” problem. Cells didn’t absorb enough of the DNA plasmids to become effective antigen factories. Since the amount of antigens produced by the body was therefore low, the immune response was insufficient to form the basis of viable drugs.

As a result, early DNA vaccine trials in humans were disappointing. The flow of research dollars slowed. Behind the scenes, however, determined scientists in dedicated startups never lost confidence in the core science. As importantly, alliances were formed and diverse discoveries merged. In recent years, their work has finally begun to bear fruit. I have been aware of this fact for some time. Until now, however, I hadn’t identified a company that fits in the Breakthrough Technology Alert portfolio.

But thanks to a series of mergers, a single company holds all the talent and IP needed to deliver on the breakthrough potential of DNA vaccine technology. In fact, the company appears to have solved the problems faced by early DNA vaccine researchers.

That said, the company I’m talking about is a tiny penny stock. While I can’t share such a tiny ticker with hundreds of thousands of Daily Reckoning readers, I have come up with a way to give you the name completely risk free. To get all of my research on this stock, you’ll need to click here as soon as possible. [link no longer connects].

Patrick Cox,
for The Daily Reckoning

The Daily Reckoning Is:

Founder: Bill Bonner
Editorial Dir: Addison Wiggin
Publisher: Eric Fry
Managing Ed.: Joel Bowman
Web Ed.: Greg Kadajski
Website: https://dailyreckoning.com/

About The Daily Reckoning: [At that time] in its 10th anniversary year, The Daily Reckoning is the flagship e-letter of Baltimore-based financial research firm and publishing group Agora Financial, a subsidiary of Agora Inc. The Daily Reckoning provides over half a million subscribers with literary economic perspective, global market analysis, and contrarian investment ideas. Published daily in six countries and three languages, each issue delivers a feature-length article by a senior member of our team and a guest essay from one of many leading thinkers and nationally acclaimed columnists.

Here at The Daily Reckoning, we value your questions and comments. If you would like to send us a few thoughts of your own, please address them to your managing editor.

An Informational Release for Members
From THE BRIDGE Newsletter of OIRF
Published December 2010
Sorry no further details about the author available at this time
© Copyright 2010, The Daily Reckoning

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