October 25, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Why Lanza and I sold ACT stock

Advanced cell technology, ACT
Advanced cell technology, ACT

It wasn’t so long ago that I did a post explaining why after following the company for years, I finally bought a small amount of stock in the stem cell biotech, Advanced Cell Technology (ACT; symbol ACTC). In part it was motivated by my enthusiasm to see them publishing a paper, a very preliminary paper, on their human ES cell-based clinical trials for macular degeneration.

However, being more of a scientist than a stock trader, I found myself fairly quickly having second thoughts, particularly after the stock did not do much of anything despite the good news from their paper and then started in fact going down.

So within a short period of time I sold my shares in ACT for a small loss.

Why?

While I support ACT and the work that they are doing as a stem cell scientist myself, I calculated that the illogical nature of the stock market more generally, especially when it comes to small biotechs, was going to make me unhappy.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one selling ACTC stock recently, as David Jensen reports that ACT scientific leader Robert Lanza sold 7.7 million shares for $1.5 million on Jan. 23 and 24. Seeking Alpha first reported the sale.

I expect my reasons were different than Lanza’s although we may never know.

And for all we know at some future date, I may lament my selling of my tiny bit of ACT stock if their clinical trials are successful in the longer term.

Anyhow, maybe I should take the advice of an ACT investor who once emailed me, saying, “You should stick to the science part of stem cells!”

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