Worth­less? Short at­tack on Fi­bro­Gen claims their ane­mia drug roxa has a lethal Achilles’ heel — and it’s go­ing down

Usu­al­ly a short at­tack takes months to play out. For Aaron Wed­lund’s lat­est all-out as­sault, we’ll like­ly know pret­ty much whether he’s right or wrong about a loom­ing biotech stock dis­as­ter in 4 days.

That’s the dead­line for Fi­bro­Gen and As­traZeneca — the big US li­censee — to get in­to the de­tails on their pooled safe­ty analy­sis of rox­adu­s­tat, an ane­mia drug that has been a cen­tral fo­cus for in­vestors for years now. Pos­i­tive ef­fi­ca­cy da­ta have been re­ward­ed with a $3.5 bil­lion mar­ket cap.

Wed­lund, who han­dled Sahm Ad­ran­gi’s short the­sis biotech analy­ses at Ker­ris­dale for a num­ber of years be­fore go­ing off on his own, is bet­ting that rox­adu­s­tat will be re­vealed as a clear los­er when re­searchers un­veil the hard num­bers on the piv­otal safe­ty da­ta on ma­jor car­dio events, or MACE, com­pared to place­bo and EPO.

“Es­sen­tial­ly,” he tells me, “if the MACE is high­er (on roxa) then this drug is dead.” And up to now he claims the spon­sors have on­ly been able to man­age con­cerns about safe­ty by ma­nip­u­lat­ing the re­sults — which reg­u­la­tors won’t ap­prove of.

First, some back­ground.

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