Don't worry if you've never heard of Robert Langer. Few investors have.
But 20 years from now, when some enterprising author writes the book about how the United States finally found a cure for cancer, you can bet that Langer will be there, front and center, in the table of contents, or maybe even on the cover.
Today Langer is a distinguished professor at MIT, in chemical and biomedical engineering. More importantly for investors like us, he is the co-founder of a hot biotech startup that just reported a key cancer breakthrough.
It's called BIND Biosciences. And it isn't just on an IPO track.
It's one of the companies I refer to when I say technology can save America. Thanks to this nation's innovative thinkers and savvy entrepreneurs, just like Langer, this country leads the world in high-tech breakthroughs – the kind that reshape lives and histories. And that's what makes me truly believe that The Land of Opportunity is bound to come out ahead in the long run.
So if you want to make big money in the Era of Radical Change, you can forget about the global debt crisis. Ditto Washington's antics. Same goes for monthly jobs reports and even the market's ups and downs.
You need to keep an eye on guys like Bob Langer.
His Team Has Given Millions New Reason for Hope
Right now 12 million Americans are suffering from some form of cancer; the disease will kill one-third of them outright. In the next 24 hours, nearly 1,500 cancer patients will die. Odds are, several people will have passed away by the time you read this report.
Many of you will relate to this on a personal level. I know I do. Cancer killed my maternal grandmother and two of my friends.
Yet today, finally, after many billions of dollars funneled into cancer research over the decades, I believe we have passed the "tipping point" in our long battle against this deadly disease. I predict that within a decade we will cut the number of cancer deaths in half.
Not only will sharp biotech investors (like us) profit along the way, the nation as a whole will get a tremendous payoff when that happens. After all, cancer costs the U.S. roughly $225 billion a year in health-care bills and lost wages.
So, the Langer team's breakthrough has much to offer America, at a time when many people fear that China is getting ready to have us for lunch. Well, let me tell you this. You won't see this kind of innovation coming out of China any time soon.
Here's How They Did It
As it turns out, Langer's team used very small – but very mighty – weapons to fight the cancer war.
Called BIND-014, these are agents so tiny, you can't see them without a powerful microscope. But they make for lethal little bombs. These particular nanoparticles feature a "homing" molecule that targets cancerous cells, while leaving healthy ones alone.
Think of all those patients who could benefit from this – and, at the same time, avoid the horrific side effects from radiation, chemotherapy, and other anti-cancer drugs.
You may have heard of these kinds of "targeted particle" before. But here's the thing. BIND-014 was the first to enter human trials.
In a recent Phase 1 human clinical trial, the nanoparticles were found to be both safe and effective. That's key to getting the FDA's approval to sell new drugs or use new treatments in the U.S. Clearly, more tests are in order. But so far, the researchers found these agents can greatly shrink tumors.
For the Phase 1 trial, they tested the effects of BIND-014 on 17 patients. Each one had already received standard chemotherapy that had not killed their tumors. The BIND-014 results proved dramatic. Researchers found that patients who got the nano treatment had 100 times more of an anti-cancer drug in their blood streams compared with using standard shots or pills.
Needless to say, the good folks at BIND Biosciences are gearing up for Phase II clinical trials. These tests will test the treatment on a larger number of patients.
For BIND, the recent good results are a big payoff after many years of toiling in the lab. Langer and co-founder Omid Farokhzad began working with nanoparticles back in the 1990s.
By 2006, they had shown the process worked on mice. They launched their company the next year in Cambridge, Mass. They now call their unique brand of particles Accurins™.
Their recent good Phase 1 results have grabbed headlines. The company was featured in three stories in the Boston Herald and one in Scientific American.
Investors are lining up, as well. In just the last two years, BIND has raised more than $70 million in venture funding.
The investors have backed such firms as Akamai Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ:AKAM), an early cloud infrastructure and services company that now has a $6 billion market cap, and Illumina Inc. (NASDAQ:ILMN), a genetic analysis firm currently embroiled in a $7 billion hostile takeover.
Now, let me be clear about one thing. Despite the recent good news from Phase I testing, it's too soon to be certain BIND will get to market with its treatment and have a great IPO.
That's the risk with any of these biotech plays. The FDA just takes a very long time to approve drugs – years or even decades.
But at this point, BIND absolutely should be on your radar screen…
It has so much going for it – positive clinical trials, solid science, venture backing, and good management.
So, the next time you hear someone on the radio predicting "The End of America," remember you have an ace up your sleeve.
Its name is BIND Biosciences. And I hope you get to play this card in the very near future.
By the way, I'm happy to say my new site, Era of Radical Change has gone live…
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About the Author
Michael A. Robinson is one of the top financial analysts working today. His book "Overdrawn: The Bailout of American Savings" was a prescient look at the anatomy of the nation's S&L crisis, long before the word "bailout" became part of our daily lexicon. He's a Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and reporter, lauded by the Columbia Journalism Review for his aggressive style. His 30-year track record as a leading tech analyst has garnered him rave reviews, too. Today he is the editor of the monthly tech investing newsletter Nova-X Report as well as Radical Technology Profits, where he covers truly radical technologies – ones that have the power to sweep across the globe and change the very fabric of our lives – and profit opportunities they give rise to. He also explores "what's next" in the tech investing world at Strategic Tech Investor.