- President signs a bill into law… and for once it’s not totally a bad thing
- The next phase of personalized medicine: A “miracle” for the paralyzed
- Italian (bank) job: Here come the dominoes
- Routine interrogation for a $75 bank deposit
- Aspiring entrepreneur realizes college is a “scam” after one semester
- Consumer sentiment and the demand for money… why some of our publications cost much more than others… and more!
Usually, we would greet a sight like this with trepidation. Usually, we’d ask ourselves what new way the government has found to screw things up…
But on further inspection, there’s reason for hope. And opportunity. And profit.
As usual, the mainstream overlooked the real story when the president signed off a week ago today on the 21st Century Cures Act. Yes, there’s $1.8 billion for a cancer research “moonshot.” Yes, there’s $1 billion for prevention and treatment of opioid abuse.
But the new law also opens the door to the next, the most world-changing, the most lucrative phase of a biotech story we’ve been following at Agora Financial for eight years.
Until now, federal regulation of biotechnology and pharmaceuticals has followed a very 20th-century model. “New therapies need to undergo rigorous clinical testing before the FDA will agree to bring them to market,” says our Ray Blanco. “This means that a drug must not only show it is safe, but that it works too… and it needs to do this in a significant group of patients.
“But this ‘mass medicine’ paradigm, where a drug needs to show it works in a lot of people, is breaking down in the modern era. We’ve learned to read the human genome and use it to tailor a therapy to a single person.”
What Ray’s describing is the promise of “personalized medicine”… medicine based on your body and your body alone — a story we first caught onto in late 2008, even as we were guiding readers through a global financial crisis.
The most cutting-edge forms of personalized medicine are regenerative and stem-cell therapies. “The cells used to heal and regenerate your body will be taken from you, transformed and given back to you,” says Ray. Damaged heart muscle can be removed, repaired and reinserted in your body — restoring the heart health you had in your 20s.
Here’s the problem: If there’s only one of you, how can scientists design a mass clinical trial that satisfies the FDA?
The 21st Century Cures Act is, among other things, an end-run around that bureaucratic quandary. Yes, government is getting out of the way.
“Under the new law,” Ray explains, “the FDA will have the authority to allow new cell-based therapies to skip many steps in the development process, speeding development for amazing new cures.
“It will make advancing new therapies much easier for stem cell companies, some of which have had to move overseas since the FDA ruled that many stem cell therapies fall under its authority and aren’t allowed without regulatory approval.
“Cell-based cures for blindness, paralysis, Type 1 diabetes, Parkinson’s and many others now have a straighter, faster route to patients,” says Ray.
And a faster route to profitability for investors in these cures.
In particular, we want to draw your attention to paralysis — because that’s where some of the most dramatic breakthroughs are happening right now.
It comes back to the story we’ve been following for eight years, when our research team first came to understand the potential of personalized medicine. Readers who acted at the time have seen their investment grow more than 350%.
But now? Between an easier regulatory route made possible by the 21st Century Cures Act… and several successful experimental surgeries… you can add a zero or even two to the profit potential.
How successful, you wonder? We invite you to follow this link… to witness our most dramatic science-and-wealth story yet… a miracle made real.
To the markets… where at last check the Dow is within 32 points of 20,000. Indeed, all the major indexes are in the green.
Whatever ground Treasuries and gold regained yesterday has been lost today. The yield on a 10-year note is back to 2.59%. The bid on gold is back to $1,128. Some of that is a function of dollar strength; the dollar index sits at yet another 14-year high, at 103.4.
The few traders who haven’t already begun their holiday vacations are talking about the Bank of Japan, which stood pat on interest rates overnight. More notable was that the BoJ raised its assessment of the Japanese economy for the first time in more than 18 months.
Here it comes: Italy’s caretaker government is asking parliament for approval to borrow as much as $21 billion to shore up shaky banks.
The shakiest of all is Italy’s third-largest bank — Monte dei Paschi di Siena. It needs $5.2 billion in fresh capital by the end of the month. At the moment, there’s still hope that money can be raised in the private sector… but clearly, Italian leaders are entering panic mode.
Still, even a bailout won’t be the end of the story. As we’ve pointed out before, European Union bailout rules dictate that in the event of a government rescue, private investors in the bank would suffer losses. (Heh, those crazy Europeans!)
We remain on guard for the domino effect: Monte dei Paschi, then the Italian giant UniCredit and finally the German colossus Deutsche Bank. That could make the usually calm end-of-year market action anything but.
India’s war on cash has descended into farce: Anyone depositing more than $75 cash will get the third degree from here on.
A quick refresher: On Election Day here in the United States, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi more or less banned the 500- and 1,000-rupee notes — equal to roughly $7.50 and $15. Indians had until year-end to deposit them into bank accounts. The stated aim was to crack down on the tax evasion made possible by cash transactions.
But the rules have kept changing: People who wanted to exchange the old bank notes for new ones were limited to 4,000 rupees… then 4,500… then 2,000… and then nothing at all.
Under the latest decree, says the Financial Times, people are allowed one 5,000-rupee deposit — about $75 — before the year-end deadline, “but only after explaining why they had not done so in the previous six weeks.”
Gee, maybe because the lines at the bank have been so long? Here’s the first thing that pops up in Twitter when searching for “India bank lines.” It’s from within the last 12 hours…
From the Department of Someone Who Gets It, we have college dropout and rising entrepreneur Billy Willson.
Willson got a 4.0 GPA in his first semester at Kansas State this fall. On Saturday, he quit.
“YOU ARE BEING SCAMMED,” he wrote on Facebook, complete with a picture of himself that we won’t show you because it involves an extended middle finger. “You may not see it today or tomorrow, but you will see it some day. Heck you may have already seen it if you’ve been through college…
“You’re spending thousands of dollars to learn information you won’t ever even use just to get a piece of paper. I once even had an engineer tell me ‘I learned more in my first 30 days working than in my 5 years of college.’ What does that tell you about this system?”
Willson expanded on his reasons in an interview with the campus newspaper. He’d figured on working for someone else’s engineering firm, and then starting his own. Then he discovered “videos on YouTube that literally teach you step by step to build an online business with little money,” he said. “To see so many entrepreneurs with dreams like my own, achieve them at ages of 20, 22, 24 was really inspiring for me.”
Well, it sure beats the job listing we ran across in our far-and-wide Twitter ramblings early this morning.
It’s a social worker position at a veterans-care place in Atlanta. Twenty hours a week, $9.25 an hour.
It requires a master’s in social work… plus $385 in state of Georgia exam and license fees. Oy…
A new subscriber to Rickards’ Strategic Intelligence writes in on the topic of consumer sentiment.
As we said yesterday, “We usually blow off indicators of consumer sentiment. Usually, it’s too squishy and subjective. Usually, it doesn’t move markets.”
Writes the reader: “While I agree with the last point, I have a question on the middle sentence above. While we can easily monitor M2 money supply growth, this only provides half of the picture of money (the supply side).
“The demand for money is the tricky part to measure. Yes, the University of Michigan’s (and others’) consumer sentiment figures are subjective, but isn’t that where the value comes in? Is the consumer sentiment figure a reliable data point on an individual’s demand for money, specifically, the demand to hold cash balances?
“Increases in consumer sentiment may lead to lower demand to hold cash balances, leading consumers to open their wallets, ultimately proving inflationary with more dollars in circulation. Is there a better gauge of consumer demand for money than these consumer sentiment figures?”
The 5: Great question. It’s a reminder of what smart readers we’re privileged to have.
Yes, as Jim Rickards is wont to remind us, inflation is a ham-and-cheese sandwich that requires both ham and cheese — money supply and money demand. Conventional economists, and even some contrarians, overlook the demand part, or what’s sometimes called the velocity of money: How willing are people to borrow and spend all that money the central bankers are creating?
Over long stretches of time, it’s obvious when velocity is really high (the late ’70s) and really low (the Panic of 2008). But unlike money supply, there’s no really good measurement of velocity from week to week and month to month.
Is consumer sentiment an acceptable proxy? We don’t see much correlation between consumer sentiment and the consumer price index… although a large drop in consumer sentiment sometimes foretells the onset of recession.
Best answer we can offer on the fly…
“I called to express my anger and disappointment,” a reader writes, “in your policy of having two separate technology newsletters (with the same editor) with differing annual fees and differing recommendations.
“Because I have subscribed to the less expensive newsletter, does that mean that I will only get ‘second-rate’ investment advice as compared with the one costing 50 times as much?
“It is beyond my ken to understand how you can promulgate such a foolish policy. How does your editor decide in which newsletter to recommend particular investments? When I called, your customer representative said that the more expensive newsletter had ‘more involved’ recommendations. What is that supposed to mean?”
The 5: We’re sorry your concerns weren’t adequately addressed over the phone. Here’s the deal.
Technology Profits Confidential is our entry-level tech and biotech newsletter. Rest assured every recommendation is thoroughly researched and considered before it’s published.
Breakthrough Technology Alert has a different mission. The aim is to identify tech and biotech names with dramatically higher profit potential. Ideally, they can deliver on that potential in a period of months, not years.
We charge the significantly higher price for a number of reasons. First, the risk-reward ratio is higher, so it’s not a place for beginners. Readers need to go in eyes wide open and know these plays are more speculative. For instance, it could be a drug company whose fortunes hinge on a single blockbuster. If FDA approval were denied, that would be very bad news.
Second, the stocks tend to have a smaller market cap — millions, not billions — and they’re more thinly traded; if we published them in an entry-level newsletter to tens of thousands of people, we’d artificially goose the share price, only to see it crash again. That would be bad for us and bad for readers.
Hope that explains why we do what we do…
The 5 Min. Forecast
As mentioned above, we’ve been on the personalized medicine beat here at Agora Financial for eight years. It’s still not mainstream news. But for reasons you’re about to see, that’s set to change very soon. Aaron Gentzler, publisher of our technology franchise, explains…
Superman Flies Again: The Wealth Story
of the Decade Ahead
Christopher Reeve made a perfect Superman.
Tall, handsome, and indestructible, he embodied the spirit of Superman like no other actor to ever play the comic book superhero.
Sadly, as you know, real life isn’t like comic books.
In May 1995, Reeve shattered his second and third vertebrae in a horse riding accident.
Though he never walked again, he spent the rest of his life advocating for research to find new ways to treat severe spinal cord injuries.
At the time, a way to allow Reeve to walk again wasn’t scientifically possible. No amount of money or connections could help him.
Reeve died in 2004 at the age of 52.
About 12,000 Americans every year suffer an injury similar to Reeve’s.
Globally, the WHO estimates up to 250,000 spinal cord injuries yearly.
In the US, average lifetime care and rehabilitation costs approach $5 million per person, per catastrophic spinal cord injury.
That’s $60 billion a year. It’s an avalanche of suffering for patients, family, and caregivers.
But this isn’t about money.
Injuries this devastating go beyond money, straight to the moral necessity of figuring out how we as a society can give our soldiers, football players, car crash victims, and those injured in severe falls a new lease on life.
A second chance. A chance at the normal, independent lives you and I enjoy every day.
Problem is, we can’t repair the spinal column post-injury. It’s just too complex, too fragile.
Right? Same as it was in Superman’s case?
What would you say if I told you there’s work underway right now that could give young men and women severely injured a car accidents… or on the football field… or the field of battle…
… Men and women who today hear they will never use their arms or legs again…
… Men and women who will live the rest of their lives looking up at the world from a bed…
… That new lease on life. The chance at independence. The chance to enjoy what you and I enjoy every day of our lives.
You wouldn’t believe me. You’d shake your head and tell me it’s a great goal, but it’s not scientifically possible.
You’d come up with a good reason why I was a fool.
Then I’d show you this.
Click play below:
This is real. This is happening right now.
The most direct way to say it is, those with severe spinal cord injuries (12,000 a year in America, remember) could be on the verge of receiving the biggest medical miracle of the decade ahead.
In fact, this miracle could represent the biggest fundamental shift, the biggest single advance, to medicine since open heart surgery.
A moment ago, I said this isn’t about money. It isn’t.
This is about giving hope to those who have none. This is about science lifting those up who face an uncertain, bedridden future.
The science you just saw in that video clip is a world first. It’s on the verge of changing lives around the world.
And you have a chance to be part of it – to profit from it – before it’s on the mainstream news.
That news exposure is coming… maybe just weeks from now.
Because when this amazing breakthrough comes into widespread awareness, the frenzy could be like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
This isn’t about money. Still true.
But make no mistake, if you’re in front of this story, you’re going to have a chance to get richer than you ever dreamed.
All the possible Supermen – and Superwomen – of the future who today never have a chance to fly… will get their chance due to this incredible work.
Read on to find out how you can get on board the wealth ride of your life…
In fact, I’ll even introduce you to the scientist responsible for making this miracle real.
Technology Publisher, Agora Financial
P.S. Don’t miss your chance to uncover one of the biggest stories of your generation…
This is irrefutable video proof that today, the impossible…is possible.
Click here to see for yourself.