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May 13, 2005
Well, today is the start of the ASCO meeting, which as I've mentioned is an interesting, important blizzard of hype and spin. A number of companies (Imclone, Merck KGaA, Bayer, Genentech, Pfizer and others) have presentations that will be watched closely. Some of these will take place over the weekend, which will at least keep a few stocks from having to halt trading (unless there are some big order imbalances come Monday morning, that is. . .)
It's hard to keep a proper perspective on this sort of presentation. One thing to remember is that everyone involved realizes the spotlight that they're under, and has planned accordingly. I've long thought that scientific meetings, as they've come to be run, are one of the worst places to discuss scientific results. I'm sure that many of the interesting and important conclusions are things that would only become clear after sitting down with the complete data sets for a few days (or weeks). Distilling all of it down to a meeting talk, even assuming (charitably) that you're not trying to sell something or divert attention, is going to degrade the information.
So, enjoy the news bulletins, and good luck with the stocks prices. But don't take ASCO more seriously than it deserves.
(By the way, another preview of the conference can be found here. Can anyone tell me what the author means in her last sentence, "The financial component is one area that is sorely lacking in research"? Here I thought that we were getting beaten up on for making the "financial component" too darn important. . .)
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