Formerly known as Virionyx Corporation Limited, the Innate Immunotherapeutics Limited is a biopharmaceutical company which is currently headed in Sydney, Australia. In December 2005, Mr. Simon Wilkinson who was the CEO of Innate Immunotherapeutics at that time met Congressman Chris Collins in New York as Mr. Wilkinson was in desperate need US$5 million to keep the company running.
Mr. Collins knew about the Wilkinson’s company since the 1990s and he offered his help to Mr. Collins and asked him to come to Buffalo, on the shore of Lake Erie to meet possible investors. Within a few days after the meeting, Mr. Simon Wilkinson successfully raised the funds from Mr. Collins’ wealthy neighbors and friends.
In the year 2010, the company changed its name to Innate Immunotherapeutics and decided to focus on its new lead drug, MIS416 that could have therapeutic value in the treatment of MS.
Initially, Mr. Collins was seen as a true believer of Innate's key drug, MIS416 and he was very positive about the possibility of finding a cure for multiple sclerosis. Due to his influence and enthusiasm for Innate, five other congressmen ended up owning the stocks of Mr. Wilkinson’s company. On several occasions, Mr. Collins personally injected cash into the company’s business to stabilize the company.
In the year 2017, the company was running a 93-person clinical trial across five sites. The trial was trying to prove that MIS416 had therapeutic value in the treatment of MS. However, in an email to Mr. Collins and other directors, Mr. Wilkinson disclosed that the results of the trials indicate clinical failure.
Mr. Collins did not anticipate these outcomes and he was shocked by this news. When Mr. Collins received the news about the clinical failures, at that time he was attending an official event and as per the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), after receiving the news Mr. Collins immediately contacted his son Cameron Collins and they spoke several times over that weekend. On 26 June 2017, the company made an announcement regarding the negative results of its trial and with this announcement the company also came out of a two-day trading halt. The next day, the stock of the company declines by over 90 percent.
The SEC claims that Mr. Collins’s son and his girlfriend, her mother and her father Mr. Zarsky sold 1.78 million of the company’s shares in the prior four days period. Further. In the Federal court, the prosecutors allege that Mr. Collins' tip breached his fiduciary duty as he was aware that after learning about the news of clinical failures, his son will trade the shares. In May 2018, Mr. Collins left the company’s board, along with most of his peers including chairman Michael Quinn.
Mr. Collins, his son and Zarsky all pleaded not guilty when they were prosecuted in federal court on 8 August 2018.
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