Sequenom says it is in contact with Nasdaq, US attorney, and SEC after investigation Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Tuesday, 06 October 2009 03:33

Sequenom, Inc. (NASDAQ:SQNM), whose shares plummeted after they fired its chief executive and other senior leaders last week, said Monday it is in contact with the Nasdaq Stock Exchange and a U.S. attorney in California.

The genetic analysis test maker said the Nasdaq and the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California made contact with the company following its announcements on Sept. 28. It also said it met with representatives of the U.S. attorney and Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Sequenom said it will cooperate fully with the stock exchange and U.S. attorney.

The company said in April that employees had "mishandled" data on its SEQureDx Down syndrome blood test. After a five-month review, Sequenom fired president and CEO Harry Stylli and research chief Elizabeth Dragon, and three lower-ranking employees. Chief Financial Officer Paul Hawran and one other executive resigned the previous Friday.

The firings followed an investigation by a special committee of the company's board of directors. Sequenom said members of the committee have also met with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In April, Sequenom announced that it would delay the launch of its closely watch SEQureDx prenatal test for Down Syndrome, citing mishandling of research and development test data by employees. It said that the stellar data released by the company on the genetic screening test could not be trusted and launched an internal probe by independent board members.

The board finally completed its investigation last week and said it had fired its CEO, research chief and three other employees and obtained the resignation of the CFO and another officer, while reiterating that previously announced clinical data and public statements about it could not be trusted.

"The company failed to put in place adequate protocols and controls for the conduct of studies in the Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) program," Sequenom said in a statement last week.

What the board did not reveal, and what is likely at the center of the multiple investigations, is whether the problems with the clinical trials was simple sloppiness in how the studies and data were conducted and handled, or deliberate fraud in which bogus data were intentionally disseminated.

The probes were disclosed an a filing with the SEC. In aftermarket trading, Sequenom shares lost 5 cents to $2.97. The stock fell 6 cents, or 2 percent, to $3.02 during the day.

Sequenom, Inc. (Sequenom) is a diagnostic testing and genetics analysis company. The Company is focused on providing products, services, diagnostic testing, applications and genetic analysis products that translate the results of genomic science into solutions for biomedical research, translational research, molecular medicine applications, and agricultural, livestock and other areas of research.

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