[Ed. Note: Dr. KSS is an MD, PhD who writes about medicine and biotech stocks for the Irregulars. He has agreed to our trading restrictions, he choses his own topics, and his words and opinions are his own. Visit his Stock Gumshoe page to see his past columns and most recent comments.]
Dear Mr. Pope:
I write on behalf of a disillusioned group of investors, the Irregulars of Stock Gumshoe Biotech, as their leader who, last summer, floated the idea of investing in your company. Absolutely nothing has panned out as we’d realistically hoped, and we now sift through the detritus, the wreckage, that is your company with the aim of attaining a sense of clarity. Where SurgiBot is concerned, it appears that you may have fed us a bogus bill of lading.
We were prepared to believe in TransEnterix because we know your de facto boss, investor and medical device entrepreneur Richard Stack, MD. We know of his greatness and of how he’s rewarded his investors. We also know of his practicality and his impatience, and we are sure he isn’t happy with you. We’ve wondered, in fact, if you may be on the way out and not even aware of that….and being candid, to that we have no objection. You came to TransEnterix as a Big Swinging D*ck from Johnson and Johnson projecting a blow-dried aura of unconcerned regal cool. You almost made it seem as if TransEnterix was cued up to collect lottery winnings, and we think this betrays how you didn’t take matters seriously, how you weren’t specific and preoccupied with details.
When the FDA said its ruling on your 510(K) submission for SurgiBot would be delayed, we sensed serious trouble. Clearly it would not be a perfunctory review, and the agency had aught to say and was at pains to craft a reply. Why is it, Mr. Pope, that you’ve never shared with investors the full text of the FDA’s response to TransEnterix? We suspect that it impugns you. During those many months that the company was idle awaiting a reply, why did you not craft a Plan B? Is a good executive caught as flat-footed as you were?
Instead of facing the rejection head-on and leading us, your backers, you raised the bridge over the moat when the bad news came through a little after 15 April. You weren’t leading: you ...