Monday, July 14, 2008

Insights from a Top Five Star Fund Manager on Drug Pipelines (Part I)

Recently, Larry and I met with an interesting person, Ken Kam. Ken manages the Masters 100 Fund (MOFQX) and is a Morningstar Five Star fund manager. He has been regularly beating the S&P 500 Composite Stock Price index. Ken believes that his approach to investments using virtual portfolios to derive real investment decisions will be the wave of the future. Ken’s approach can be checked out at Earlier in his career, he had managed a technology and healthcare fund and had also run a medical devices company. During our meeting, we learned about his current holdings and what he thinks about the future of the pharmaceutical industry. This is the first of three blogs based on that interview.
Ken Kam manages the Marketocracy Masters 100 Fund (MOFQX) that has a Morningstar Five Star for three year returns. The fund’s objective is to seek capital appreciation in common stocks of domestic and foreign companies of any size, seeking to outperform the S&P 500 Composite Stock Price index. What brought Larry and I to meet with Ken was his position in Elan Corporation PLC. Elan has been conducting clinical trials on a drug, bapineuzumab, for Alzheimers patients, and they currently market Tysabri, to treat multiple sclerosis. Elan represents the largest holding of MOFQX at about 9½ % of its entire portfolio. What had brought Elan to Ken’s attention was two of the virtual portfolio managers who use his website ( In March 2005, these two virtual fund managers made Elan 25% of their test portfolios. They were betting their long term track records on this stock. (One had been running cash at 22% of his portfolio, a fairly conservative position.) In addition, 1,500 of 80,000 virtual investors at had Elan in their portfolios. Elan’s clinical trials on their drug, Tysabri, for use with multiple sclerosis had been proving successful. However, because of a one in one thousand chance of a fatality, the FDA had ordered the drug withdrawn.
Ken decided to do more research on the drug. What separates Ken from other stock researchers is his use of the Internet. He e-mailed 1,500 people on the Internet to solicit their feedback. Approximately five hundred responded of whom, one hundred were MS patients and some had been participants in Tysabri’s clinical trials. All were waiting for their insurance companies to approve the drug for use despite the risk of fatality. Ken’s research approach took him in a different direction from other Wall Street analysts who normally talk with the neurologists. Being doctors, they reply that there isn’t information yet to give an opinion.
With this research behind him, Ken took his initial position two months after Elan first came to his attention. Since then the stock has doubled several times after the FDA ban was lifted and Ken is hopeful for the future.
Several things caught my attention during our meeting. First, the use of the Internet to bring together virtual investors to develop stock picks. Next, Ken’s use of the Internet to take advantage of his in depth understanding of clinical trials to conduct original patient research on Tysabri’s effectiveness. In the next several blogs, I will write about what Ken thinks about Elan’s future pipeline and the drug industry in general.
As always, we welcome your feedback. Please contact us at We look forward to hearing from you.

Contributed by Guy de Lastin

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