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Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.

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8:30 AM Thursday, October 27, 2005: There's no question in my brain that:

1. The Avian Flu is coming my way.
2. It's going to be brutal.
3. Novavax (NVAX) has the potential to make an effective one-injection vaccine and make large quantities of it quickly.
4. The Administration should be all over NVAX, but isn't -- for reasons I can't figure.

This company interests me less because I've made a few bucks on it, but because it could save my life. Yesterday I sat through a standing-room only presentation at the C. E. Unterberg Towbin Life Sciences conference by Novavax's president and CEO, Dr. Rahul Singhvi. For a copy of that presentation, click here.

Novavax's vaccine isn't approved by the FDA. To get approved -- if there were no urgency -- the company would need to spend two to three months making vaccines, then three to four months doing a toxicology study on animals (to prove it didn't hurt the animals) -- and then it would be ready for clinical trials on humans. Maybe another year or so.

God knows how long before the vaccine was approved and we could all get injected.

By then, we might be all dead.

Frankly, I'm not prepared to watch the levees break again because Washington is focused on protecting its tushy with leaks on CIA or getting incompetent sycophants onto the Supreme Court.

Hence I'm issuing a plea: If you know someone in Washington, ask them to check Novavax out. The poor, but talented company has fewer than 50 people. It hasn't the money nor the skills to lobby the bureaucrats in Washington at the FDA, FEMA or Homeland Security. Maybe you know someone? Call them. Tell them you'd prefer to live.

68 people are already dead of Avian flu. The thing is spreading rapidly across the globe -- from China north into Mongolia and Siberia and west into Ukraine, Croatia and Turkey. Though the avian flu bug has passed through many mutations, it has maintained its extraordinary lethality.

The flu pandemic of 1918-1919 killed 20 million to 30 million. This one could kill far more. There are far more of us to kill.

If you think I'm crazy, read this week's Newsweek.

FYI: Newsweek's laughable "precautionary measures":

+ Don't panic.
+ Get your annual flu vaccine, which is not effective against bird flu.
+ Don't stockpile Tamiflu, which may or may not work after you have contracted bird flu.
+ Stay away from live animal markets and poultry farms. (Dah!)
+ Wash your hands frequently with soap. (I kid you not. Newsweek wrote "soap.")
+ Don't eat undercooked eggs or poultry.
+ Keep away from sick people.
+ If you get sick, call your doctor.

P.S. Newsweek's research department is bigger than mine. They never even mentioned Novavax.

My new philosophy: I meet many interesting people through this column. That's one of the reasons I write it. Earlier this week, I wrote I was going to the C.E. Unterberg Towbin Life Sciences conference. I had no idea how I was going to get in because I wasn't a client. I'm a poor, starving blogger. A nobody. But I can turn on the gift of the charming gab, when motivated.

Well, it turns out this this nice man Jack Burns reads my column every day. And he works for Unterberg Towbin. After my column appears, he emails me I'll come as his guest. And meantime, why don't I keep my eye on Novavax (NVAX), which he and his clients, I learned later, own in spades.

I organized to meet Jack at the conference. He's positively charming. He's one of those old-fashioned brokers who has a small clientele and works hard for them, researching stocks --- some from his firm and some on his own. He goes to conferences. He reads. He meets management. He asks questions. He comes to conclusions. Wow! A Renaissance Man. You don't find them any longer on Wall Street -- where everybody is compartmentalized, where managers kill all creativity, and brokers are only allowed to talk about stocks their company thinks is kosher -- usually large companies long lacking in creativity (and decent growth) -- Microsoft, Intel, Nokia, Caterpillar, etc.

Jack has a philosophy. Research the world to death. Find three great opportunities a year. Get into them. As they rise, take your initial investment out. Stay with them as they perform the way your research says. Don't go crazy taking gambles, timing the market, playing with stuff you know little about.

He's done his three for 2005 -- one of which was Novavax. He's achieved his numbers for the year. He has some ideas for next year. I know one of them. I'll share it with you after I've cleared it with Jack.

But for now, I embrace David's philosophy. Maybe I've always had it to a degree. It's not dissimilar to Warren Buffett's. Lots of research. Few investments. But large positions.

Writing a daily column seriously conflicts with the idea of great, but few opportunities. You get up in the morning and you're obsessed with "What's today's great, new way to make BIG BUCKs?" God forbid that you should feel guilty that you don't have an idea. (Cramer must feel the same way.) Yesterday's idea (e.g. RIMM, Novavax or Whole Foods) is still working. But it's yesterday's idea.

What am I saying? I don't have a great idea today. Yes. But this morning I don't feel guilty. If I don't find a great idea. At least I'll find something amazing (how to spend $241,000 on lap dances), some useful advice (please back your computer up today) or at least a great joke (e.g. yesterday's Chinese joke -- which offended my son because he's been trained to be PC. Me? I'm believe in equal opportunity humor. Everyone deserves to be made fun of. If you can't take it, don't read it.)

Absolutely delicious
Morgan Stanley video: Remember those commercials it ran about how your Morgan Stanley rep takes care of your family. Here's a wonderful spoof. Click here. You'll need Windows Media Player, which you can pick up for free from here if you don't already have it.

I don't normally do political humor. But this cartoon was good juicy to pass up.

The Catholic Dog
Muldoon lived alone in the Irish countryside with only a pet dog for company.

One day the dog died, and Muldoon went to the parish priest and asked, "Father, me dog is dead. Could ya' be sayin' a mass for the poor creature?"

Father Patrick replied, "I'm afraid not; we cannot have services for an animal in the church. But there are some Baptists down the lane, and there's no tellin' what they believe. Maybe they'll do something for the poor creature."

Muldoon said, "I'll go right away Father. Do ya' think $5,000 is enough to donate to them for the service?"

Father Patrick exclaimed, "Sweet Mary, Mother of Jesus! Why didn`t ya tell me the dog was Catholic?

Recent column highlights:
+ Dumb reasons we hold losing stocks. Click here.
+ How my private equity fund is doing. Click here.
+ Blackstone private equity funds. Click here.
+ Manhattan Pharmaceuticals: Click here.
+ NovaDel Biosciences appeals. Click here.
+ Hana Biosciences appeals. Click here.
+ All turned on by biotech. Click here.
+ Steve Jobs Commencement Address. The text is available: Click here. The full audio is available. Click here.
+ The March of the Penguins, an exquisite movie. Click here.
+ When to sell stocks. Click here.

Harry Newton

This column is about my personal search for the perfect investment. I don't give investment advice. For that you have to be registered with regulatory authorities, which I am not. I am a reporter and an investor. I make my daily column -- Monday through Friday -- freely available for three reasons: Writing is good for sorting things out in my brain. Second, the column is research for a book I'm writing called "In Search of the Perfect Investment." Third, I encourage my readers to send me their ideas, concerns and experiences. That way we can all learn together. My email address is . You can't click on my email address. You have to re-type it . This protects me from software scanning the Internet for email addresses to spam. I have no role in choosing the Google ads. Thus I cannot endorse any, though some look mighty interesting. If you click on a link, Google may send me money. That money will help pay Claire's law school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense, click here and here.
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