I am fascinated with and very involved in a stem cell company with products in the Trials stages that will remedy Diabetes, Heart Attacks, and Retinal Failure, which is called Advanced Cell Technology.
Their physician and chief researcher Dr. Robert Lanza, M.D., was interviewed last April at length by Barbara Walters about his methods of creating functioning stem cells through genetic manipulation, rather than using embryos and other destructive sources.
I recently inquired of ACTC William Caldwell IV and Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Lanza, with the suggestion that they might put out more press releases on stem cell advances, good news, political considerations in light of Obama's stance toward stem cell research and products, etc., thus creating a higher profile and more general public knowledge of what great work they are doing.
I still strongly believe that increasing this arm of any cutting edge company will be beneficial, because, if done properly, doesn't cost any money at all and brings huge results.
This was William Caldwell's well-reasoned and carefully thought out response:
The company will publicize substantive events that impact an investor's decision on investing per SEC regulations. Press releases are not used as a 'Public forum' or as rebuttal to erroneous public statements by others. They are used to pass on financial information and announce the achievement of major corporate milestones and significant achievements. They are monitored by the SEC to make sure that "stock pumping" or "non-
substantive" information to induce in any way investors to purchase shares is not occurring.
The company is cognizant of its obligations to its various stakeholders as well as to its responsibilities to fully comply with SEC regulations. When we have substantive news you can rest assured we will appropriately handle it in accordance with public company disclosure laws. Given the increase in attention to our industry sector, the SEC may well be monitoring the sector to insure regulatory compliance. We have contracted with third party professionals in investor relations to make sure we optimize our presence in accordance with our obligations as a public company.
We have issued one other major release since the one referenced which was received by the market with volume increases but little price change to our stock. The market has continued to soften in the face of a torrent of adverse economic news. Our sector (most stem cell stocks) had a significant run up in valuations since the beginning of the year but have now fallen prey to the general debacle that has moved the markets to the lowest valuation levels since 1997.
Stem cell stocks are still significantly higher than they were at the close of 2008. As a group they may be the ONLY sector that can claim such a distinction. Warren Buffet's investment in GE in the 4th quarter of last year was at $22 a share (at the time hailed as a "steal by market pundits"). I believe GE closed at $8+ a share today while its 52 week high was over $38. These are tough times and short term market fluctuations will in most instances take a back seat to survival strategies for the intermediate and longer term.
We appreciate your long term and continuing support. ACTC has overcome some significant obstacles in the past year, but it would be foolish for ANY company to suggest to its investors that they are insulated to what is happening on a worldwide scale economically.
We are extremely focused while having a "bunker mentality" in running our business. With a skeleton staff which includes a core scientific team, we continue to work towards meeting our publicly stated objectives for the year. The market will fluctuate based upon many factors which no one appears to totally understand. Remember, there was a point last year where our price per share was under $.01. If we achieve this year's milestones, the company will survive and deliver appropriate shareholder value. We are totally committed to that end.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is one thing; SEC is quite another. I have found that public journalism and financial reporting-public relations is quite separate and distinct from Investor relations and financial reporting especially for a small, undercapitalized, highly controversially and emotionally charged business sector.
I hope this helps you in understanding our current strategy.
William M. Caldwell IV
Chairman & CEO
Advanced Cell Technology, Inc