In the age of the Internet and social media portals such as Facebook and Twitter, investors are turning more and more to non-conventional sources of information to gain an advantage on investing in the stock market. With a little detective work, the ordinary retail investor can level the playing field versus the professional analyst or money manager, and even game the system to an advantage.
No industry presents more of a potential opportunity to scoop a story than the biotech sector. With over 400 publicly traded pharmaceutical and biotech companies testing their drugs in over 45,000 active clinical trials, many of these trials with hundreds or even thousands of patients, somewhere out there, someone is talking, or tweeting, or blogging.
No example is more representative than what was recently seen with Sarepta Therapeutics (NASDAQ:SRPT). Prior to the release of the phase IIb results on October 3, 2012, Sarepta shares had been slowly trending higher for the better part of the prior three months. Interest in the story, and eteplirsen, a RNA-based therapeutics that is designed to repair a genetic mutation in certain patients with duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), was first generated by the company when it reported encouraging preliminary results from the phase IIb study back in July 2012.
However, the press release alone from Sarepta wasn't enough to send the shares from $3 per share to nearly $17 prior to the release of the full data three months later. Instead, what drove meaningful excitement and net buying in the stock were videos and blogging on twitter by some of the patients prior to the company making the full results available. Parents of three of the eight subjects who were in phase IIb trial had been publicly discussing the results with local media (source, source) and even posted videos of family members' impressive recoveries on YouTube.