Friday, February 17, 2012

ACT's Top Scientist Sells $1.5 Million in Company Stock

The mainstream media waxed enthusiastic last month when a California hESC clinical trial reported positive results dealing with blindness.

The report was first published account of a human trial of embryonic stem cell based therapy and involved Advanced Cell Technology, which is headquartered in Santa Monica, Ca. Despite a glowing reception of the trial's results, the firm is years away from being able to market the therapy at a profit – if it ever can do so.

The firm's chief scientific officer, Robert Lanza, moved quickly, however, to capture some monetary gain from the news, which was announced in a press release Jan. 23 by ACT.

On Jan. 23 and 24, Lanza sold 7.7 million shares in ACT for $1.5 million, according to SEC documents. He sold the stock at 18 and 19 cents a share. That compares to an ACT price of about 8 cents at the end of 2011. Lanza still holds 26 million shares in the firm. The acquisition price of the stocks is unknown.

There is nothing to suggest anything untoward about Lanza's sale. But it is a reminder that creating a successful stem cell therapy is about making money. Without a profit, there will be no therapy, as Geron reminded everyone last November when it dropped its longstanding hESC trial.

The California Stem Cell Report has asked Lanza if he has any comments about the sale of the stock. We will carry his remarks verbatim when we receive them.

The Seeking Alpha web site appears to have been the first to report the sale. Here is their complete item.
"Advanced Cell Technology, Inc. (ACTC.OB): ACTC is a development-stage biotech focused on the development and commercialization of human embryonic and adult stem cell technology in the field of regenerative medicine. On Wednesday, Chief Science Officer Robert Lanza filed SEC Form 4 indicating that he sold 7.7 million shares for $1.5 million, ending with 26.0 million shares after that sale. ACTC shares have rallied strongly since the beginning of the year, up from 8.2 cents at the end of last year to currently in 14-15c range after rising above 20c just earlier this week."
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2 comments:

  1. I also sold ACTC stock not because I don't like the company, but because the volatility is just too much. I'm a stem cell researcher and I think the work they are doing is quite interesting.

    I explain more about my decision on my lab's blog:
    http://www.ipscell.com/2012/02/why-lanza-and-i-sold-act-stock/

    I wish them the best of luck!

    Paul

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  2. Anonymous3:15 AM

    Lanza filed a plan a while ago which does not have to be updated, but likely was, in which his BROKER sells his shares. He has no discretion. Because Lanza is PAID in shares, he owes ordinary income taxes on those shares immediately. His broker would have been unethical not to have taken an opportunity to get those tax dollars for him at the best price possible, rather than waiting for the price to come down and sell even more shares to make the tax payments. This story fails to tell the whole story.

    http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1140098/000114420411034356/v225200_8k.htm

    Key quote: "Except as may be required by law, the Company does not undertake to report on specific plans by the Company’s other officers or directors, nor to report modifications, terminations, transactions or other activities under the plan of Dr. Lanza or the plan of any other officer or director."

    http://fairmark.com/execcomp/grants.htm

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