Targeted Strategies for Today's Evolving Markets

MissionIR Blog

Heat Biologics (NASDAQ: HTBX) at the Vanguard of a Paradigm Shift in Cancer Treatment

The human body is elegantly designed to heal itself, utilizing the immune system as its defense against various pathogens. Triggered by immune response signals, the immune system attacks and kills organisms and substances that invade body systems and cause disease. However, the immune system sometimes needs help in identifying and killing some invaders.

Cancer presents a complex and perplexing problem for effective immune system response, because it finds ways to hide from the immune system or block the immune system’s ability to battle against the disease. An important part of the immune system is its ability to differentiate between normal cells in the body and invaders. This differentiation allows the immune system to attack the invading cells while leaving normal cells alone. To achieve this, the immune system uses molecules on certain immune cells that need to be activated or inactivated to trigger an immune response. However, cancer cells can sometimes use these checkpoints to deceive the immune system and avoid being attacked. Newly developed drugs, known as checkpoint inhibitors, have shown some success in cancer treatments. However, a combination of checkpoint inhibitors and specific T cell-stimulating therapeutic vaccines indicates a much higher degree of efficacy.

Heat Biologics (NASDAQ: HTBX) is at the vanguard of this shift in cancer treatments, developing novel therapeutic vaccines to activate the immune system against a wide range of cancers. When antigens enter the body, they stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies in response to these foreign substances. Heat Biologics exploits this natural process to elicit a powerful immune response against the disease target. The company’s therapeutic vaccines are based on heat shock protein gp-96, a protein that activates the immune system when cells die. This protein is attached to the cell by what’s called a KDEL leash. Heat Biologic’s vaccines remove this leash and cause cells to continuously secrete gp96 and its chaperoned antigens to activate the immune system.

Heat Biologics recently announced the latest results of its ongoing phase 2 clinical trial in combination with Bristol-Myers Squibb’s checkpoint inhibitor. Researchers reported a strong correlation between T cell activation, tumor reductions, and increased overall survival in the patients evaluated. Patients with a sustained immune response also exhibited substantial tumor reductions. It appears the combination of Heat Biologics’ vaccine and checkpoint inhibitors may become an attractive therapeutic approach treating cancers.

For more information, please visit www.HeatBio.com

Posted in Small Cap News | Leave a comment

Monaker Group, Inc. (MKGI) Meeting Customer Needs by Integrating Alternative Lodging Rentals into Mainstream Travel Marketing

Today, customers have a lot more choice when it comes to booking accommodation for a holiday. Gone are the days when holidaymakers and travelers had no option but to book hotels for their vacations. Now, they can choose from a variety of short- and long-term house rentals, vacation homes, resorts, timeshares, and other Alternative Lodging Rentals (ALR).

Hotel companies are changing their services to suit the needs of a new generation, but, although traditional lodging has not been forgotten, it is starting to face serious competition from ALR. In fact, according to a survey undertaken by OAG published on Tnooz.com (http://dtn.fm/R5Bv6), of the 2,500 travelers questioned, two-thirds being leisure travelers with the rest taking trips for work, more than 50% would like to see accommodations from Airbnb, a major online ALR marketplace, in travel agency search results. Not only this, the majority of these people also stated that they would book such accommodations on an online travel agency if they could. But ALR options still have little or no representation in the mainstream travel industry, especially if the traveler wants instant confirmation of ALR bookings. Whether booking ALR properties through Airbnb or other services, people seeking such non-traditional accommodations still face the time-consuming hassle of waiting for the ALR property owner/manager to respond, unlike with airline or hotel bookings.

In addition, from a business travel point of view, companies seem to still be slow on the uptake. Out of the one-third of those taking trips for business, less than 5% said that their company offers Airbnb as a lodging option. However, a third of those people said they would take advantage of such lodgings if they could.

As a result of this need for integrating ALR into mainstream travel marketing, Monaker Group, Inc. (OTCQB: MKGI), a technology-driven travel company, has been developing and will soon be launching the first real-time system for booking ALR, such as vacation homes and unused timeshares, among others, on its NextTrip.com website and mobile application.

Currently, customers wanting to book alternative lodging are having to contact property owners, wait for responses, and wait for confirmation from the potential host. As a result, ALR has been one of Monaker’s key focal points, and the company believes there is a large gap in the market due to the fact that these accommodation options are currently offered separately to other alternatives such as hotels. The convenience of instant booking confirmations and the ability to perform all travel planning and booking from one site represent a major shift in the travel industry, and Monaker aims to be the company to offer it.

For more information, visit www.MonakerGroup.com

Posted in Monaker Group Inc. MKGI | Leave a comment

National Waste Management Holdings, Inc. (NWMH) Educating People to Make Florida More Environmentally Friendly

Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that up to 75% of the United States’ waste stream is recyclable, only 30% of it actually gets recycled each year, according to RecoverUSA.com (http://dtn.fm/C7ncW). Approximately one-third of an average landfill is made up of packaging material, with more than 60% of the landfill being paper, plastic, food waste, glass, and metal.

Only 1% of aluminum products and 1% of plastic products are recycled in the United States each year, although Americans discard 25 million plastic bottles every hour. With paper and cardboard making up most of industrial waste products, if companies establish a paper and cardboard recycling program, they would make a serious positive impact on the environment.

National Waste Management Holdings, Inc. (OTC: NWMH), a growing solid waste management company, is doing everything in its power to educate the people of Florida about the critical value of recycling. Aside from the company’s recent shift in services, NWMH has plans of transforming its fundamental business model to include a portable picking station at the company’s landfill that will help the state meet its mandate for 75% recycling by 2020.

National Waste Management believes that, despite modern-day efforts to make the world more sustainable, people do not understand the full meaning of the common catch phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle”. According to the company: “It’s a simple premise but contains logistics that most don’t consider. By the time you’re ready to recycle something, there are already many environmentally-conscious decisions that have been missed.”

The company is trying to encourage a shift in consumer focus on products that are designed better and produce less waste. Not only this, it wants to help people put more thought into reusing materials and products, as well as educate themselves on products that are made of materials that are recyclable and are accepted by their local waste management services.

For more information, visit the company’s website at www.nationalwastemgmt.com

Posted in National Waste Management Holdings Inc. NWMH | Leave a comment

eXp World Holdings, Inc. (EXPI) to Hold Annual Shareholders Meeting on April 27

eXp World Holdings, Inc. (OTCQB: EXPI) will hold its annual shareholders meeting on April 27, 2017, at the Coronado Island Marriott in Coronado, California, and the company is urging eXp Realty agent-owners, entrepreneurial real estate professionals, and investors to attend. eXp World Holdings is the holding company for eXp Realty LLC, an agent-owned cloud-based real estate brokerage.

The meeting will be held against a backdrop of the company’s rapid growth to more than 3,000 agents in the U.S. and Canada, a 25% increase from the 2,401 agents recorded at the end of 2016. It took the company approximately four months to go from 2,000 to 3,000 agents, almost half the time it took to move from 1,000 agents to 2,000. The company indicated that, year-over-year, in 2015 and 2016, it enjoyed a 200% increase in agent count.

eXp Realty is a full-service residential real estate company. It offers its agents training through a fully immersive cloud-based environment. The company also attracts agents through its program of commission incentives supplemented by agent-ownership opportunities.

eXp World Holdings presented at the ROTH Conference and detailed its unique model incentives. In its February 2017 investor presentation (http://dtn.fm/3rmVJ), the company described its cloud-based campus, with its ability to eliminate brick-and-mortar expenses and support staff. The firm operates in 42 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Alberta, Canada.

EXPI also offers agents access to eXp University, a virtual classroom experience where agents can receive more than 25 hours of training a week. Agents in the cloud environment can work from any location, invest minimal capital, share commissions, and enjoy exponential bandwidth as the number of agents grows. Ownership is earned through an incentive program.

For more information, visit the company’s website at www.eXpWorldHoldings.com

Posted in eXp World Holdings, Inc. EXPI | Leave a comment

Monaker Group’s (MKGI) ROTH Conference Presentation Details How Mark Travel Partnership Will Deliver a Marketing Advantage

Monaker Group, Inc. (OTCQB: MKGI), in its March 15, 2017, presentation at the ROTH Conference (http://dtn.fm/zhZm7), said that its B2B and B2C site, NextTrip.com, will be enhanced in 2Q2017 and its wholesale travel partner, Mark Travel (www.MarkTravel.com), is an important element of its strategic advantage.

Monaker Group is a high technology travel provider that offers users an all-in-one site with artificial intelligence that provides conventional travel, alternative leisure rentals (ALR), and a library of videos to help consumers and businesses choose their plans. The booking engine offers real-time digital data and reduces the time it takes to book diverse travel from hours to minutes, the company said in its ROTH Presentation slide deck.

The company said Mark Travel, through its Trisept Solutions technology firm, will power Monaker Group’s NextTrip and offer expanded product offerings and distribution. Monaker Group said Mark Travel offers both B2B and B2C advantages. In B2B, it offers its VAX XML link to more than 200 companies. Its VAX VacationAccess system is a portal for more than 70,000 travel agents and greater than 50 leisure travel suppliers, together accounting for more than $1 billion in annual bookings. In B2C, Mark Travel offers Monaker Group preferential pricing for air, car, hotel, and ground activities. It will also offer integration with its travel-linked artificial intelligence platform.

“Trisept has the most advanced technology available for leisure vacation packaging today,” commented Bill Kerby, chairman and CEO of Monaker Group. “Expanding NextTrip’s capabilities and access to agents and consumers will accelerate our growth and differentiate us from our competition.”

In addition to the technological advantages, Monaker Group’s marketing efforts are set to benefit from partnering with wholesaler Mark Travel. At $3 billion in annual sales, Mark Travel is the largest wholesaler of travel in North America. It owns Funjet Vacations, founded in 1974, which specializes in personalized and independent vacations for groups and individuals.

Mark Travel’s other brands include Southwest Vacations, United Vacations, Mark International, Showtime Tours, Blue Sky Tours, and My Destination Wellness. The company offers service to more than 1,100 destinations globally and specializes in end-to-end travel service for its clients.

To Monaker Group, Mark Travel offers Trisept Solutions, a high technology travel platform through which it offers several other booking advantages. These include VAX VacationAccess, a $1 billion booking engine that brings together more than 70,000 travel agents with more than 50 leisure travel suppliers. Also, Mark Travel brings its Xcelerator agency platform with artificial intelligence. Its Synapse provides back office travel functions on a secure and seamless platform, Monaker Group added.

For more information, visit www.MonakerGroup.com

Posted in Monaker Group Inc. MKGI | Leave a comment

Cannabis Businesses Represent Diverse Opportunities of Booming Market

The U.S. medical and recreational marijuana industry continues to expand. Even though the debate over medical efficacy and the concerns over recreational marijuana use continue to cause political and social divisions within the country, the investment community is moving rapidly from benign interest to embracing the marijuana industry as a significant investment opportunity.

At the recent 29th annual ROTH conference, an investment conclave attracting global financial gurus, even traditionally conservative industries like private equity groups took serious consideration of the marijuana market opportunities. The opening conference panel discussion centered on the medical uses for marijuana and emphasized the upside potential in the burgeoning marijuana market that is already underway.

In attendance at the conference and presenting to fund managers and investment advisors was GrowGeneration Corporation (OTC: GRWG). GrowGeneration currently owns and operates 12 specialty retail hydroponic and organic gardening stores with locations in Colorado, Nevada and California. With the company’s focus on owning and operating branded stores in all of the major legalized cannabis states, it currently sells thousands of products to facilitate the cultivation of marijuana for commercial and home growers.

GrowGeneration went public last year and is fast moving toward its objective of becoming the first company in its vertical on the NASDAQ stock exchange. Interviewed at the conference, Darren Lampert, CEO of the company, stated in part, “Investors are seeking out investments in the cannabis industry and are hoping to profit from the fastest growing new market in the USA in some time. GrowGeneration benefits from all sides as more growers come to us for their equipment and nutrients, which is why we were able to grow as exponentially as we have without directly touching the end product.” By supplying a vast array of specialty retail hydroponic equipment, lighting, and organic nutrients and soils to horticulturalists and marijuana cultivators, GrowGeneration is focused on reaping rewards from the explosive growth of this fledgling industry.

Already one of the nation’s largest specialty retail hydroponic and organic gardening store chains, GrowGeneration acquired all of the assets of Sonoma Hydro last month creating a $2.5 million northern California retail distribution center. Northern California’s “Emerald Triangle,” home to a large concentration of cannabis cultivators, is a significant growth opportu­nity for the company, with the market projected to grow at a compounded annual rate of 18.5%, reaching $6.5 billion by 2020.

Further validation of the huge potential of this market can be found in GrowGeneration’s press release last week. The company announced that Merida Capital Partners, a cannabis infrastructure fund, has provided GrowGeneration $1.65 million in equity financing. When factoring in warrant exercises, funding will total $3.92 million in capital. Merida Capital Partners priced callable warrants at $4.12 or higher, an obvious indication of its belief in the company.

Whether one agrees with the surge in the cannabis industry or not, there’s no denying the wizards of Wall Street are believers. Now may be the time for individual investors to participate and potentially profit from one of the fastest growing new markets in America, which is occupied by a number of other innovators such as: MyDx, Inc. (OTCQB: MYDX), which offers CannaDX, a unique device that allows anyone to directly test cannabis products for THC, CBD, and CBN potency; Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. (NYSE: IIPR), which focuses on an entirely different aspect of the industry, helping licensed MMJ growers meet capital needs by purchasing their grow-land and leasing it back to them; Terra Tech Corp. (OTCQX: TRTC), which designs and sells its own specialized hydroponic and associated equipment for indoor growing, in addition to the retail selling of cannabis products; and Aphria, Inc. (OTCQB: APHQF), which produces and sells a variety of “100% Greenhouse Grown” cannabis products throughout Canada.

Posted in Small Cap News | Leave a comment

Monaker Group, Inc. (MKGI) ROTH Presentation Covers Company Strategy for First-In-Industry Travel Platform Targeting $100 Billion ALR Market

On March 15, 2017, Monaker Group, Inc. (OTCQB: MKGI) gave a presentation at the 29th Annual ROTH Conference held in Dana Point, California. Bill Kerby, chairman and CEO of Monaker Group, made the presentation, covering what Monaker has accomplished, along with the company’s strategy and plans for 2017.

Florida-based Monaker Group considers itself a technology-driven travel company, with a B2B and B2C platform that offers a first-in-industry real-time system for the booking of Alternative Lodging Rentals (ALR), including vacation homes, resort residences, and unused timeshares. Importantly, the system integrates this with mainstream travel products and services, all on a single site. As a key engine for growth, Monaker has designed the approach to be compelling to major travel business partners as well as to end consumers.

Kerby began the presentation by explaining the value and potential of bringing, for the first time, ALR business into the mainstream travel industry. According to Kerby, Monaker has been working aggressively on building its ALR program for the past 15 months, based upon an online platform similar to Airbnb, but designed from scratch with greater functionality and flexibility. This is significant, since Airbnb has a market cap of roughly $31 billion. In addition, this work has been funded largely by Monaker’s own directors and key insiders, and they now feel they have the money in place to launch and take the company into profitability. For interested investors, MKGI is still in the small-cap range, with approximately 11 million shares outstanding.

The multi-billion dollar ALR market is the fastest growing travel sector, primarily because people increasingly view it as a preferable alternative to staying in hotels, offering more for the money, and yet it sits largely outside the traditional travel industry. Monaker’s innovation is to use superior digital technology to bring ALR into the mainstream travel industry in a way not currently available with any other platform. Currently, the overall global travel market is approximately $1.2 trillion, with the online services portion representing about $593 billion. The ALR sector has jumped from very little to $100 billion in just the past six years, and it is expected to grow to about $170 billion over the next couple of years.

People prefer the convenience and economy of ALR properties, and the soon-to-be-launched Monaker platform greatly exceeds Airbnb’s ALR by offering ALR properties with real-time booking and instant confirmation, versus consumers having to contact an ALR property owner and then wait and hope they get back in time in order to coordinate travel plans. Monaker lets consumers book ALR with instant confirmation, just as they would a hotel or plane travel. Monaker now has one million properties available for display, with another two million under contract, compared with Airbnb’s 2.5 million and Expedia’s Home Away at about 1.2 million.

Monaker will soon launch its platform on its NextTrip.com website and associated mobile app, with another critical factor being that the site will not only represent the best and most efficient portal for ALR properties, it will also offer 200,000 hotels and over 400 airlines, as well as all the major car rental companies, restaurants, cruise programs, tours and activities. As a result, it is expected to become the industry’s first and only one-stop shop offering instant confirmation for all types of travel booking.

Monaker will also be rolling out a Group Planner system, which will allow multiple individuals in a group to view travel plans, letting them participate and vote, and using PayPal to transfer any needed funds once ready to book. The system also offers rebates for booking and for trip feedback, generating an objective reference database for future travelers. The company will also be moving toward an optional Artificial Intelligence engine for smart travel planning based upon traveler preferences. Preliminary evaluations suggest that this AI option will significantly reduce the time required for planning and booking, but it will be a strictly optional offering so that users have complete discretion over the use of information.

A key driver for all of this, and especially the high-margin ALR business, is the large number of big-distributor partnerships that Monaker has developed. The company makes it easy and inviting for airlines, as well as cruise and tour operators, to access the Monaker property inventory, allowing them to flexibly pick and choose properties, adjusting the markups and fees they want to apply, and plugging it all into their own websites to present it exactly the way they prefer, and all with real-time booking. Monaker has also paired up with Mark Travel, the largest travel wholesaler in the U.S., to make the Monaker product available on its large VAX system, which is used by 70,000 travel agents. Monaker is also working with Recruiter.com, and its connection with nationwide business decision makers, to use Monaker products for company business and vacation travel.

Finally, Monaker also owns the major long-established upscale touring company Maupintour, offering luxury tours anywhere in the world. These are not just your typical tours, but customized private adventures for individuals or groups, with what the company considers the best professional tour planners in the business.

A replay of the live ROTH Conference is available at http://dtn.fm/Li0Vs.

For other information on Monaker Group, refer to www.MonakerGroup.com

Posted in Monaker Group Inc. MKGI | Leave a comment

Neogen Corp. (NEOG) Keeping People and Animals Safe with Traditional Lab Methods

Foodborne illnesses are more common than people believe. These infections are not only common but costly, and also very preventable. Every year, one in six Americans get sick from consuming the wrong food or drink. Unfortunately, because there are so many different microbes and pathogens that can cause disease, there are also many different types of infections.

With more than 250 different foodborne diseases now described, each has its own set of symptoms, and some have lethal results. Normally, a person contaminated will suffer from temporary nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, or diarrhea, but because of the variety of bacteria, viruses, and parasites found in certain foods, these contaminated foods can also cause long-term health problems, or even death.

The hardest aspect of food safety is controlling the various times at which food can get contaminated. The food supply process today is extremely complicated and comes with its own set of very strict rules. However, there are many opportunities for food contamination to take place. These include on-farm production, harvesting or slaughtering, processing, storage, transport, and distribution.

Neogen Corp. (NASDAQ: NEOG) a company that develops, manufactures, and markets various products and services relating to food and animal safety, has, for its mission, to be the leading food and animal safety company, keeping people and animals safe throughout the food making and marketing process.

The company keeps food and animals safe from inside the farm gate through to the moment it arrives on people’s plates. From intervention products to diagnostic products, NEOG provides test kits, instrument systems, consumables, culture media, software, and services for the food safety market. It also provides a complete line of veterinary diagnostics, instruments, pharmaceuticals, nutritional supplements, disinfectants, and rodenticides for the safety of animals.

Although many companies today have replaced traditional lab methods with more modern test formats, Neogen still believes in the time-tested methods discovered and developed in the mid-1800’s. The company serves this market with its Acumedia dehydrated culture media lines and competes in each segment of the Food Safety market. It now has some of the world’s top food and animal producers and processors as clients, and offers more than 400 products to the market.

For more information, visit the company’s website at www.Neogen.com

Posted in Small Cap News | Leave a comment

ImageWare Systems, Inc. (IWSY) Sets March 30 Conference Call, Receives Frost & Sullivan Award for New Product Innovation

ImageWare Systems, Inc. (OTCQB: IWSY) has set a March 30, 2017, conference call (http://dtn.fm/4j16M) for a corporate update on its fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2016. Results for those periods will be released prior to the call, which is scheduled for 5 p.m. (ET). Hosting the call will be Jim Miller, ImageWare chairman and CEO, and Wayne Wetherell, CFO.

The San Diego-based company designs cloud-based and mobile multi-modal biometric identity management solutions, including biometric authentication technology. Its biometrics are next generation and are interactive and scalable cloud-based solutions. The company offers multi-factor authentication for desktop devices, smartphones, and mobile clients. Its products include authentication by face, voice, fingerprint, eye, DNA, and more. It also develops access control tools.

ImageWare recently received the 2017 North American Frost & Sullivan Award for New Product Innovation. The award was presented in recognition of its GoVerifyID Enterprise Suite, which provides multi-modal biometric user identification as an end-to-end turnkey solution.

“This mobile/cloud SaaS (software as a service) offering is the industry’s first multi-modal biometric user authentication solution that allows customers to strengthen the security of their passwords or two-factor authentication using biometrics. Rather than typing a password, end users can speak a passphrase, swipe their fingerprints, or even take ‘selfies’ to gain access,” Frost & Sullivan noted in a news release.

It also cited ImageWare’s GoVerifyID Enterprise Suite, which is Windows Server certified. It noted that this product is device-agnostic and allows user authentication via the cloud. Additionally, Frost & Sullivan said, ImageWare has shown speed in response to market needs in the fast changing world of identity management.

For more information, refer to www.IWSInc.com

Posted in Small Cap News | Leave a comment

Vertex Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ: VTNR) Focused on Used Oil Recycling

The foundation of Vertex Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ: VTNR) was laid by the employment of a 16-year-old Alabama teenager, with the result being that a multi-faceted environmental services company was eventually built upon the endeavors of that teenager. Roughly 30 years ago, Benjamin Cowart, now the CEO and chairman of Vertex, began work at his brother’s used oil collection business in Alabama. After 15 years of working, learning, and helping to build a successful business, he ventured out on his own and formed Vertex in 2001. Vertex Energy now collects and recycles used motor oil and other petroleum by-products, off-specification commercial chemicals, and multiple other industrial waste streams.

Vertex purchases used oil, industrial waste, and chemical products from a developed network of local and regional suppliers, known as street collection, and focuses resources on recycling a portion of its collected used motor oil and other petroleum products. Vertex also sells used petroleum products as feedstock to other re-refineries and fuel blenders or as replacement fuel for use in industrial burners.

The company’s Black Oil division operates across the entire used motor oil recycling spectrum. From used oil and petroleum product collection and aggregation, the company transports, stores, refines, and sells re-refined products to end users. The company’s Refining and Marketing division aggregates feedstock, re-refines it, and then sells the various products. The company’s Recovery division delivers solutions for the recovery and management of hydrocarbon streams.

Expanding feedstock, Vertex Energy has acquired several other used oil collection routes. At oil’s peak, Vertex Energy was paying local generators $1.00 per gallon for used motor oil, but, with the collapse in oil prices, Vertex was able to move from paying for used oil to charging for collection. Vertex has been challenged like others in the oil business but has targeted 2017 as the year for its collection acquisitions to play out.

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, with facilities in Louisiana and Ohio, and offices in Illinois and Georgia, Vertex Energy has come a long way from that Alabama teenager.

For more information, please visit www.VertexEnergy.com

Posted in Small Cap News | Leave a comment