[The following is from 2015, but just as relevant today. Seven years later, Scamavex (AVXL) is still around, and retail idiots are piling into the stock in front of yet another sure-to-be-data-mined-to-death release of study results. Past is prologue, and pedigree counts. With that in mind, enjoy this blast from the past….]
Today we quickly examine the sad state of retail favorite, but blindingly obvious bio-turd, lovingly referred to as Scamavex (AVXL). If one follows us on Twitter, (@buyersstrike) one would have seen warnings that Anavex Life Sciences (AVXL) is really just a plaything of Vancouver stock promoter Harvey Lalach. In fact, the common refrain is that “One can take the company out of Vancouver, but you can never take Vancouver out of the company.”
And in fact, the company did pick up and move, to shiny offices in New York City. And yet, the pull of Vancouver is strong. Just a few weeks ago Anavex announced the hiring of a new CFO. Sandra Boenisch. A quick read of the 8K filing announcing her arrival, and a look at her resume, leads to more questions than answers.
Take a look:
Ms. Boenisch, age 34, has no family relationship with any other officer or director of the Company. With respect to the Company, Ms. Boenisch has not had a direct or indirect material interest in any transaction described in Item 404(a) of Regulation S-K. In connection with Ms. Boenisch’s appointment as Principal Financial Officer, the Company and Ms. Boenisch entered into an employment agreement commencing on October 1, 2015 and ending on September 30, 2017, whereby: (a) the Company shall pay to Ms. Boenisch an annual base salary of Seventy-Eight Thousand and 00/100 Canadian Dollars ($78,000 CAD)
A CFO capable of handing the workload of a ~380mm USD market cap biotech (at time of writing) that supposedly has the cure for Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease (if the dumb donkey longs and touts are to be believed) can be hired for just $78,000 CAD per year salary (roughly $59,500 USD at time of writing)? Really?
Why is a supposedly American biotech company, based in NYC, paying its newly minted superstar CFO in Canadian dollars? Perhaps we need to take a look at her resume. Here is the resume portion of the 8k:
Ms. Boenisch has been an independent consultant, providing financial reporting services to a range of public companies in the United States and Canada since January 2012. From 2008 until 2012, Ms. Boenisch was employed at BDO Canada LLP (Vancouver, BC) where she was hired as a Senior Accountant and was later promoted to Manager, Audit Assurance. Ms. Boenisch specialized in managing assurance engagements for public companies in the United States and Canada. Prior to that, Ms. Boenisch worked for a public accounting firm beginning in 2001.
Well there is our Vancouver connection, but she has no experience as a CFO, and none in biotech. And what did she do between January 2012 and getting this amazing job at revolutionary, world-changing, Anavex? The 8K says she was an independent consultant. However her LinkedIn page says something very different.
It turns out she does have some experience in the past with a public company, Naked Brand Group, Inc is actually publicly traded Naked Brands (NAKD). Insert your own jokes about Anavex’s head of Business Development and Investor Relations, Nell Rebowe, here.
Sure enough, just like Anavex, Naked Brands started life as a Nevada shell company, in this case a little piece of junk called “SearchByHeadlines.com” (SBHL) which obtained a listing in 2007. The Headlines shell then acquired a dismal little underwear company called Naked Boxer Brief Clothing, Inc. creating yet another wretched reverse merger polluting the lower reaches of Wall Street (& Howe Street) NAKD.
Sandra joined NAKD a year later, in May 2013 as VP of Finance.
But being a piece of junk Canadian company merged into a Nevada shell, and hiring Sandra Boenish, are not the only things AVXL and NAKD have in common. There’s more.
In September of 2013, NAKD announced with great fanfare an investment from an institutional investor. Retail longs seem incapable of understanding that difference between a legitimate long term institutional investor, and what could kindly be described as the newest incarnation of 90s death-spiral shops. Here is a chart of NAKD’s share price from the date of that investment, 16 September 2013 until today.
Pretty impressive performance. The investor? Why none other than AVXL’s recently announced institutional investor, the sharks at Lincoln Park Capital. Read more about Lincoln Park here.
And take a look at the most recent press release from Anavex, trumpting an abstract of what we will charitably call a “study”, that is no more than a small collection of completely uncontrolled, unblinded, anecdotes about their snake oil Anavex 2-73. The important bit is at the bottom:
Shareholder & Media Relations Toll-free: 1-866-505-2895 Outside North America: +1 (416) 489-0092
A 416 (Ontario) area code for a NYC-based, Nevada corporation, with a CFO in Vancouver? Odd, right? A quick search of that number leads to a stock promotion outfit in Toronto, Primoris Group, a firm with 2 co-founders who are no strangers to the seedy world of micro-crap Canadian stock message boards.
Maybe we’ll tear apart Anavex‘s ridiculous “study” claims over the weekend. Until then, lets see how the dynamic CFO and IR due of Sandra and Nell do, especially with their Toronto stock pumping friends.