Sat, Dec 05, 2015 - Page 13 News List

OBI Pharma snubs stock compensation claims

’HIDDEN AGENDA’:The company said that the rumors about provision of stocks were meant to stir controversy over the ownership of a newly developed cancer drug

By Ted Chen  /  Staff reporter

OBI Pharma Inc (台灣浩鼎) shares yesterday rose 2.29 percent following a two-day slump, after the biotech firm cleared up rumors of irregularities in the provision of stock compensation to interested parties.

Shares of OBI Pharma closed at NT$670 in Taipei trading, following declines of 2.51 percent and 6.43 percent in the past two sessions.

The company dismissed rumors that it had granted shares to Academia Sinica president Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠), who later transferred the shares to company chairman Michael Chang (張念慈).

Academia Sinica, the nation’s leading research academy, works in close collaboration with OBI Pharma.

OBI Pharma was founded by Chang and Wong as a wholly owned subsidiary of US-based Optimer Pharmaceuticals Inc in April of 2012. Optimer Pharmaceuticals ousted Chang, who had served as chairman at OBI Pharma, on suspicion that Chang had arranged for a grant of 1.5 million OBI Pharma shares to himself for the benefit of a third party.

OBI Pharma said that throughout the company’s history, it has never approved share grants for members of its research team, management or interested parties.

In addition, the company said that Wong was not involved in Optimer Pharmaceutical’s October 2012 decision to sell the remaining stakes of its former subsidiary back to OBI Pharma shareholders and that Chang was later cleared of wrongdoing following probes by US financial regulators.

Chang had no control on prices in the selling of shares, which was initiated by Optimer to raise funds, OBI Pharma said, adding that the rumors are aimed at stirring controversy over the ownership of the company’s OBI-822 medicine, a promising active immunotherapy for metastatic breast cancer, after its share prices soared, while vowing to take legal action over unfounded rumors.

OBI Pharma last month announced that it has inked an agreement to transfer exclusive rights for Merck & Co Inc of the US to develop and commercialize the company’s narrow spectrum antibiotic Dificid in Taiwan.

Dificid has been approved by Taiwanese authorities to treat closridium difficile-related diarrhea in adults.

In related news, TaiGen Biotechnology Co (太景生技) shares yesterday gained 7.71 percent to climb to NT$37 after the company announced that its pneumonia drug Taigexyn is going through phase-three clinical trials and that a new drug application would be submitted to the Chinese Food and Drug Administration next year.

The news came after TaiGen said last week it had received approval from the Chinese agency for the phase-two clinical trial of Burixafor, an autologous hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation drug.

So far this year, TaiGen shares have dropped 4.27 percent on the Taipei Exchange, outperforming the over-the-counter benchmark index, which has dropped 6.35 percent over the same period.

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