The Mission Report

The MissionIR Report - September 2011

In-depth analysis, timely updates, latest market news


Market News

Company Updates


Oil Prices Down Despite Storm

Benchmark crude fell $2.48, or 2.8 percent, to finish at $86.45 after the Labor Department said employers stopped adding jobs in July. The unemployment rate remained at 9.1 percent.

The U.S. jobs report follows a weak manufacturing report from China and concerns that the lingering debt crisis in Europe continues to hold back economic growth there.

Brent crude, used to price oil in many international markets, fell $1.96 to end at $112.33 per barrel In London.

Gasoline prices remained high, however. The average retail price for gasoline in the U.S. rose about 2 cents on Friday to $3.647 per gallon according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. That's the second highest level ever for this time of year. It was a little higher in 2008.

Oil was also pushed down as the dollar rose against the euro and some other currencies. Oil is priced in dollars and becomes more expensive to buyers with foreign currency -- and less attractive -- as the dollar get stronger.

Also, a Libyan official said Friday that five foreign oil and gas companies have returned to Libya to resuscitate production choked off by civil war and sanctions.

This encouraged traders that Libyan oil might begin flowing sooner than hoped, though most expect it to be several months before significant exports resume.

Concerns about the economy, the dollar and increased supply from Libya overwhelmed worries that the interruptions of oil and gas production caused by Tropical Storm Lee in the Gulf of Mexico might squeeze supplies and push prices higher.

The storm has forced several oil companies to evacuate personnel from production platforms and drilling rigs in the region. Nearly half of the Gulf's oil production has been cut off, as well as one-third of the region's natural gas production, according to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.

Forecasters expect the storm to dump a foot or more of rain on parts of Louisiana starting this weekend.

The storm is not expected to damage rigs in the region, however. Oil production should resume shortly after the storm has cleared and companies can return workers to production platforms.

In other energy trading, heating oil fell 5.44 cents to finish at $2.9974 per gallon and gasoline futures lost 5.31 cents to finish at $2.8396 a gallon. Natural gas fell 17.8 cents, or 4.4 percent, to end the day at $3.872 per 1,000 cubic feet.

VistaGen Therapeutics, Inc. (VSTA) Stem Cell Technology to Test New Drugs for Toxicity Before Humans Trials

VistaGen Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on stem cell-based drug rescue and drug development, recently completed a $3.87 million financing (including cancellation of $1.0 million of debt) to accredited investors, including a $1.5 million investment by Platinum Long Term Growth Fund. The Company is focused on rescuing the investments made by pharmaceutical companies in promising drug candidates that have been "put on the shelf" due to heart toxicity concerns. By combining its stem cell technology platform, Human Clinical Trials in a Test Tube(TM), with modern medicinal chemistry and three-dimensional (3D) "micro-organ" culture systems, the Company plans to create new, safer, proprietary drug rescue variants of once promising original drug candidates.

VistaGen uses its human pluripotent stem cell technology to generate early indications, or predictions, of how humans will ultimately respond to new drug candidates long before they are ever tested in humans. The Company anticipates that CardioSafe 3D(TM), the first bioassay system derived from its Human Clinical Trials in a Test Tube(TM) platform, will allow it to assess the heart toxicity profile of new drug candidates with greater speed and precision than nonclinical in vitro techniques and other technologies currently used in the drug development process. VistaGen plans to expand its drug rescue capabilities by introducing its second bioassay system, LiverSafe 3D(TM), a human liver cell based toxicity and metabolism bioassay system, next year. The Company's core goal is to develop a diverse pipeline of new small molecule drug candidates that will be as effective as the original drug candidates discontinued due to safety concerns but without the toxicity that caused them to be put on the shelf.

"Both in our labs in South San Francisco and through our collaboration with Dr. Gordon Keller in Toronto, we have assembled a dedicated and experienced team that is passionate about the transformative potential of our stem cell technology. Our goal is simple: use stem cell technology to make better medicine," said Shawn K. Singh, Chief Executive Officer, VistaGen in a prior press release.

VistaGen's technologies were developed over the last 20 years by a prominent Canadian scientist, Dr. Gordon Keller (recently named a "Top 25 Transformational Canadian" for his pioneering stem cell research), and by Dr. Ralph Snodgrass, VistaGen's founder, President and Chief Scientific Officer. Using mature heart cells produced from pluripotent stem cells, the Company believes its CardioSafe 3D(TM) is capable of predicting the in vivo cardiac effects, both toxic and non-toxic, of small molecule drug candidates before they are tested in humans.

In parallel with its drug rescue activities, VistaGen also plans to advance numerous pilot preclinical cell therapy programs, including programs focused on autologous bone marrow transplantation, as well as heart, liver and cartilage repair. Each of the programs is based on the proprietary stem cell differentiation and human cell production capabilities of its Human Clinical Trials in a Test Tube(TM) platform.

Low Rates Both Good and Bad for Consumers

Borrowers were relieved when the Federal Reserve said that it would hold interest rates at rock bottom for the next two years. But savers didn't share the same joy.

The Fed's move was aimed at goading consumers and businesses to look again at leverage as a means of investing in the economy — either through big-ticket purchases like houses, cars and large appliances, or, for businesses, in equipment, new systems and even workers.

The Fed thinking is that if interest rates stay low enough, people and businesses won't be afraid to borrow, which could shake this stagnant economy back into growth mode.

But it stings if you're on a fixed income facing rising costs for energy and food, or if you're so wary of your money disappearing in the stock market that you're sitting on a bank savings account full of cash.

Low interest rates also hurt if your retirement is dependent on interest income from certificates of deposit. Interest rates on a one-year CD have plunged to 0.42% from 2.38% just three years ago, according to Most money-market mutual-fund yields are at 0.01%.

But if you're a homeowner with, say, a 5-1 adjustable-rate mortgage that's already past the first five years of the fixed-rate portion, you're in pretty good shape for the next couple of years.

Ditto on those home-equity lines of credit, which carry variable interest rates mostly based on the prime rate, which also trends with the federal funds rate.

Low interest rates also have contributed to 50-year troughs in mortgage rates, which are determined by a variety of interest-rate benchmarks. Freddie Mac reported average fixed mortgage rates rose modestly last week to 4.22%, after seven straight weeks of declines. A year ago, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage stood at 4.36%. The 5-1 ARM slipped to 3.07%, setting a record low.

Low interest rates could be mixed blessings for credit-card holders, unless, of course, you don't pay your bills on time and get slapped with high penalty rates. Thanks to the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act, most banks reset their average percentage rates to variable terms plus margins, meaning they could rise and fall along with the prime rate.

A low-interest environment makes it even more important that you pay off your credit card balances, however. Because you're earning very little return on savings accounts and CDs, the amount you pay in interest-rate charges has a bigger impact on your total budget and cash flow.

VistaGen Therapeutics, Inc.

The U.S. is facing a drug discovery crisis. Over the past decade, the number of new drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has plummeted by more than 50%, despite substantial increases in research and de¬velopment funding by the U.S. pharmaceutical industry. It has been estimated that drug discovery, development and commercialization programs of major pharmaceutical companies have required an average investment of approximately $800 million to $1.7 billion and 12 to 15 years before a new drug candidate reaches the market.

VistaGen's goal is to leverage its stem cell technology to build a diverse drug pipeline of new, proprietary "drug rescue variants" which are as effective as the once promising drug candidates but without the toxicity that caused them to be put on the shelf. Focusing on discontinued drug candidates with positive efficacy data may give the Company a valuable "head start" in its efforts to identify and develop new, proprietary drug rescue variants faster and less expensively than drug candidates discovered and developed using only conventional animal and in vitro cell culture testing.

About VistaGen Therapeutics, Inc.

VistaGen Therapeutics, Inc. is a biotechnology company applying stem cell technology for drug rescue and cell therapy. Drug rescue combines human stem cell technology with modern medicinal chemistry to generate new chemical variants ("drug rescue variants") of promising drug candidates that have been discontinued during preclinical development ("put on the shelf") due to heart or liver safety concerns. VistaGen also focuses on cell therapy, or regenerative medicine, which includes repairing, replacing or restoring damaged tissues or organs.

VistaGen's versatile stem cell technology platform, Human Clinical Trials in a Test Tube™, has been developed to provide clinically relevant indications, or predictions, of potential toxicity of new drug candidates before they are ever tested on humans. VistaGen's human pluripotent stem cell-based bioassays more closely approximate human biology than conventional animal studies and nonclinical in vitro techniques and technologies currently used in drug development.

Using mature human heart cells produced from pluripotent stem cells, VistaGen leveraged its Human Clinical Trials in a Test Tube™ platform to develop CardioSafe 3D™, a three-dimensional (3D) bioassay system for predicting the in vivo cardiac effects of new drug candidates before they are tested in humans. The Company now plans to leverage CardioSafe 3D™ to build a pipeline of new, safer, variants of promising drug candidates that have been "put on the shelf" by pharmaceutical companies because of toxicity concerns, despite positive efficacy data signaling their potential therapeutic and commercial benefits.

VistaGen is also developing LiverSafe 3D™, a predictive liver toxicity and drug metabolism bioassay system, and is preparing to initiate pilot preclinical development of cell therapy programs focused on autologous bone marrow transplantation and heart, liver and cartilage repair. Each of these development programs is based on the proprietary human pluripotent stem cell differentiation and cell production capabilities of the Company's Human Clinical Trials in a Test Tube™ platform.

Scorpex, Inc. (SRPX)

Scorpex, Inc. announced that its Urban Impact Study, which was submitted to the Mexican state of Baja California last month, was accepted as one of the final steps in obtaining city permitting to receive, store, recycle and dispose of toxic and hazardous waste, non-toxic and non-hazardous waste, and commercial waste.

The Urban Impact Study is required for the City of Ensenada to issue Scorpex its 'Use' and 'Operational' permits. CEO Joseph Caywood emphasized, "This acceptance by the Mexican state further demonstrates the Company's commitment to environmental responsibility and the proximity of receiving our final use and operational permits."

About Scorpex, Inc.

Scorpex, Inc. is focused on becoming a leader of hazardous and toxic waste disposal in the Baja Mexico/California region where demand for waste management exceeds capacity. To date, the company has constructed a 10,000 square foot storage facility, water reservoir and septic system, sprinkler system, and security fence and is in the process of developing other necessary infrastructure on its 26-acre site.

Joseph Caywood is the founder of Scorpex International and has developed the project for several years. His efforts have included overseeing construction, land acquisition, site development, permit applications, governmental relations, and submitting focused studies and reports by experts in this industry. As a result of his efforts, Scorpex will have the only industrial waste processing facility of its kind in Baja Mexico.

The Mexican economy has experienced significant growth in the manufacturing sector over the past several years. This growth has been fuelled by the NAFTA treaty and investments from foreign national companies. The growth of both new and existing industries has dramatically increased the need for the disposal of industrial waste throughout Mexico, especially in the Baja California region.

The company's future expansion plans include constructing other strategically placed, specially designed, storage, recycling and disposal facilities in various locations throughout Mexico. All facilities will be designed specifically for the purpose of processing the nation's growing industrial waste, including materials that are classified as industrial, toxic, and hazardous.


In a recent press release, SEFE, Inc. announced that it has been issued patent 7,855,476B2 for its Atmospheric Electrical Generator. The patent, filed in 2008 by SEFE Chief Technology Officer Mark Ogram but owned by SEFE, Inc., is the first of several patents that the company has submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

"The Atmospheric Electrical Generator is at the core of our intellectual property portfolio," stated Mr. Ogram. "Inventions such as these are what will allow us to stay at the forefront of this rapidly growing industry. The Atmospheric Generator is important because it will serve as a cornerstone. We are witnessing a shift in the scientific community toward the belief that this energy source, which we have always recognized as having prevalence in our environment, is not as impossible to utilize as has been previously thought."

About SEFE, Inc.

SEFE, Inc. is focused on developing and deploying a promising solution to our world's energy problems. It is now more obvious than ever before that fossil fuels are increasingly more difficult to find and harvest. It is also well known by now that alternative energy, such as solar, wind and nuclear, has its own list of unsolvable issues. SEFE's unique technology, in comparison, harvests unadulterated, carbon-free, always-on and problem-free energy from a never ending source.

The company calls it True Energy because it's not an alternative to anything and it certainly isn't petroleum based. SEFE's solution works by capturing and converting naturally occurring static electricity in the atmosphere into a constant, abundant and decidedly green source of renewable energy. The patented technology has been designed to be robust, easy to implement and user-configurable from the start so that these systems can be deployed anywhere and generate current usable by any localized source.

Because the cost of deploying and maintaining SEFE systems is relatively low, the company believes it can sell a kWh of electricity at $0.03 per unit. In comparison, nuclear energy costs approximately $0.14 per kWh and wind energy costs approximately $0.07 per kWh. SEFE is currently prosecuting four pending United States Patent Applications to protect their core intellectual property. Once issued, these patents will provide barriers to entry and fortify their foundational business construct.

The company has grown from a national company to an international concern with planned partnerships in China, India, Australia and the EU. SEFE is also well supported by a highly capable management team that has accumulated more than 30 years of experience in corporate management and governance. The company also employs a host of associates who are experts in fabrication and product development, FAA regulations, engineering and utility consultation, among others.


For more frequent updates, follow us on Twitter!

Home     About Us     IR Services     Investors     Partners     Market Research     Blog     Contact     Disclaimer

© 2011 Mission Investor Relations. All rights reserved.
3645 Marketplace Blvd.   Suite 130-280   Atlanta, GA 30344   404-941-8975