Matthew Kaplan, Chief Cheerleading Officer (RPRX)

While the staff at BuyersStrike! HQ has been deluged with China related matters of late, it does not mean that old friends like RPRX have been forgotten. One item that recently crossed the wires was the Repros Therapeutics fka Zonagen‘s (RPRX fka ZONA) earnings release. It was enlightening to note that Stock Salesman of the Century Joe Podolski has the decency to warn people of what is coming around the bend. From the press release:

Based on our existing and projected commitments, we believe we will need to raise additional capital by the end of the second quarter of 2012 in order to continue operations on a normal basis. However, if our expenses are greater than expected or our revenues are less than expected, we may be required to raise additional funds prior to that time. We believe we can secure additional cash resources through the sale of our equity securities; however, there can be no assurance that the Company will be able to raise sufficient capital.

That is likely to be true, given Joe P’s excellent track record (examined here) in selling shares to keep Repros alive, while diluting his stockholders. It will also give all sorts of low-level bankers another chance to pick up some fees. Perhaps it will allow some lucky investors to pick up sweet packages of stock and warrants like Perceptive Advisors, Quoque Capital,  and Steven Oliveira did a few months ago, as explored here.

And of course, it will give RPRX‘s CCO (Chief Cheerleading Officer), Matthew Kaplan, another chance to bestow his brilliant analysis of RPRX on the world. Kaplan works for Ladenburg Thalman. (In addition to cheerleading RPRX, Kaplan has never met a XOMA drug development failure that he didn’t like, it seems that nothing can shake his perma-buy rating on XOMA shares. Kaplan was also a long-time booster of Cell Therapeutics (CTIC) which is bio-dreck extensively debunked by Adam Feuerstein over at TheStreet.com. Read some of his stuff here, here and here on CTIC.)

Here is Kaplan’s bio from Ladenburg:

MATTHEW L. KAPLAN is Managing Director, Health Care Group – Equity Research, at Ladenburg Thalmann. He focuses on therapeutic companies, cardiovascular and drug delivery. Mr. Kaplan spent 13 years as a Biotechnology Analyst at PZ & Co., Evolution Capital and The Carson Group.

Matthew may have known another Carson Group alum, Quoque Capital’s Wayne Rothbaum. After all they worked at the same firm, in the same group, at overlapping times. Quoque is a huge holder of RPRX.  Coincidence?

Matthew has been following Repros for ages, ever since it was known as Zonagen. Let’s take a look at some of his calls:

The first mention of ZONA/RPRX by Kaplan that your author could uncover was from July 2005. Kaplan was working as an analyst at Punk, Ziegel, a small boutique firm in New York.

Zonagen Rated New `Buy’ at Punk, Ziegel

Princeton, New Jersey, July 14 (Bloomberg Data) — Zonagen Inc. (ZONA) was rated new “buy” in new coverage by analyst Matthew L Kaplan at Punk, Ziegel & Company. The price target is $14.00 per share.

Here’s a little blurb about a puff piece that appeared in Business Week:

Feb. 23 (Bloomberg) — Zonagen Inc. may be bought by a larger drugmaker such as Pfizer Inc. or Wyeth, Business Week reported in its “Inside Wall Street” column, citing Mark Lappe of Efficacy Capital Ltd., which owns the stock. Zonagen, based in The Woodlands, Texas, is developing a one-day oral tablet to treat testosterone deficiency caused by a condition called hypogonadism, the magazine said. The company’s shares are undervalued as its drug addresses a $1 billion market, the magazine said, citing Lappe. A pill to treat the condition has an advantage over topically applied treatments, Business Week said, citing Punk Ziegel & Co. analyst Matthew Kaplan. Zonagen’s drug, Androxal, may take 4 percent of the U.S. market for the product by 2010, the magazine said, citing Kaplan.

As of today, Androxal is nowhere near approval, and thus has market share of 0%. Good call Matt. Also, a hearty “Winning!” to Efficacy Capital for their buyout prediction.

In the summer of 2007 we find another report from Kaplan, reiterating his buy rating:

Repros Therapeutics-RPRX reiterate Buy after Q2 results@PUNK Punk Ziegel expects several catalysts during the remainder of 2007, which include: the filing of Proellex endometriosis IND; discussions with the FDA over Phase III Trials for Proellex and Androxal; and the potential for a Androxal partnership.

And in early December 2007 as RPRX shares made a precipitous drop from $40 (split adjusted):

Repros Therapeutics-RPRX recent weakness a buying opportunity, reit Buy@PUNK Punk Ziegel is encouraged by the outcomes of the company’s meeting with the FDA and recommend investors take advantage of the recent price weakness to purchase the stock.

Considering Podolski’s amazing track record of failure with the FDA, is there anything that does not encourage Kaplan? In 2008, Kaplan moved on to Ladenburg Thalman and his love of RPRX went right along with him:

Ladenburg Thalmann Issues Research Report on Repros Therapeutics (RPRX), reiterating our Buy rating and $25 price target. [$100 Split-Adjusted – Editor]

And, after a brief cut to Neutral due to the disastrous Phase III trials of Proellex, Matthew’s buy rating came back in summer 2010:

Repros Therapeutics Inc Raised to ‘Buy’ at Ladenburg Thalmann Aug. 20 (Bloomberg) — Repros Therapeutics Inc (RPRX US) was raised to “Buy”
from “Neutral” at Ladenburg Thalmann by equity analyst Matthew Kaplan. The target price is $1.50 per share. [$6 Split-Adjusted – Editor]

No doubt the recent earnings release, and the clear need for yet more capital, will be more reason for Kaplan to cheer! In the words of the Yahooligans, “Go RPRX!”

The content contained in this blog represents only the opinions of the author. The author may hold either long or short positions in securities of various companies discussed in the blog. This commentary in no way constitutes investment advice, and should never be relied on in making an investment decision, ever. This blog is not a solicitation of business: all inquiries will be ignored. The content herein is intended solely for the entertainment of the reader, and the author.
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