Dendreon Corp. is a Seattle, Washington-based biotech company that researches treatments for cancer. Their approach is novel in its dirty work is done by reprogramming the body’s monoclonal antibodies (I happen to have heard of these because my scrawny tomboy high school chum grew up to be a ridiculously attractive Ph.D. at NCI researching non-idiotypic monoclonal antibodies, at which point she gave me the brush-off: such is life).I have no idea if their approach works or not, but Dendreon has created a drug, Provenge, to treat asymptomatic, metastatic, and androgen-independent prostate cancer. Provenge has completed two Phase III clinical trials, so someone thinks it works.
In any case, the decision as to the correct price of Dendreon’s equity (and hence, the terms on which it can raise capital to fund its research) is supposed to be made by the collective wisdom of investors expressed through a marketplace operating under the rule of law. In fact, however, for some length of time and to some significant degree, the pricing of its equity has instead been determined by some hedge fund guys who think cancer patients should die so they can take ski trips to Gstaad.
Note that this firm, which in most weeks sees 2 million shares trade, accumulated at one point 18 million failures.