1) Talk with corporate directors, or join a corporate board if you have the opportunity. Recognize how seriously they take disclosure of known material events.
PMBWA lesson: stop looking for code words, Groucho Marx eyebrow raising, or any other type of "body language" silliness from insiders.
2) Walk around the JP Morgan healthcare conference (or Rodman or Leerink or Barclay's or Cowen or Lazard or...) and listen to a bunch of presentations. Every one includes "We are getting a lot of interest from big pharma." Note the lack of correlation between the promise of the coming partnership (100% incidence) and the investment relevant event itself (partnership equivalent of an orphan disease.)
PMBWA lesson: business development negotiations are completely opaque. Do not invest because of promises of the Big Pharma Partnership coming.
3) Same as #2. Replace "Big Pharma Partnership" with "Buyout."
4) Walk around the exhibit floor in a device dominated specialty (cardiology, orthopedics, ob/gyn, general surgery.) Notice how there are almost no small public companies. Realize that almost everything worthwhile gets acquired before it goes public.
PMBWA lesson: the most knowledgable device people have already turned down just about anything you can invest in. Manage your portfolio accordingly.
5) Watch the run-up and subsequent run-down of stock prices leading up to interim analyses by data safety monitoring boards (DSMB's.)
PMBWA lesson: Assume the result of an interim analysis will be "continue the trial as originally designed." Buying a stock because you expect a clinical trial will be stopped for efficacy is like going to a baseball game because you expect the pitcher to throw a no-hitter.
More to come.