Immunovaccine says it's the target of a hoax press release

Written By doni icha on Sabtu, 28 Februari 2015 | 22.39

Halifax-headquartered Immunovaccine Inc. says a press release issued Friday touting a $340 million anthrax and Ebola vaccine deal was a hoax.

A press release distributed on PRWeb and GlobeNewswire this morning claimed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had "fast-tracked" clinical trials of two vaccines.

The release also claimed Immunovaccine had entered into a mutual co-development agreement with Gilead Life Sciences. The deal involved $40 million paid up front to Immunovaccine, with potentially another $300 million flowing to the company.

None of this is true, Immunovaccine said Friday afternoon, calling the press release "fraudulent."

"The press release did not originate from Immunovaccine and there is no accuracy to the information contained within the press release," the company said in a statement.

Company CEO Mark Mansour said the company became aware of the hoax when people at the company started receiving congratulatory emails about the deal.

"Of course, we didn't know what they were talking about," he said.

Once officials at Immunovaccine googled the company's name and press release, they learned what the hype was all about.

Trading in the company's stocks was halted this morning, but resumed earlier this afternoon. The company's stock hit about 88 cents a share, up from where it started the day in the low 70s.

Mansour is unsure why somebody would have carried out the hoax, but speculates that some of the possibilities would be stock manipulation or just trying to make money. He says the Toronto Stock Exchange and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada will be investigating all transactions that were carried out.

"Everything will be under a microscope," said Mansour.


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