Monday, September 28, 2009

Sequenom Fires Top People for Messing With Data: Time to Go Long?

It seems that top execs were up to something at Sequenom and have just paid the price.

Sequenom Inc (SQNM.O) said it has removed almost its entire top management team as a result of a scandal involving mishandling of research and critical data on its prenatal Down syndrome test.

The genetic analysis products maker's board said it fired president and CEO Harry Stylli and research chief Elizabeth Dragon and obtained the resignation of Chief Financial Officer Paul Hawran and one other unidentified officer.

Three other employees were also dismissed following completion of an independent investigation by a committee of independent directors.

I'm wonder if that Down syndrome test is still viable after all the screwups with the data. If the data is sound and they mishandled the research then this could be a cheap stock marred by scandal that can be picked up on the cheap. If that data was falsified and the product is not viable then the stock is basically dead in the water.

I guess there will be a wait and see until the new team can produce data that is untainted. In the meantime it might go to $1 or so and might be a "roll the dice" play on whether that SEQureDx test can be brought out in a timely manner. Also you have to see if Board Chairman Harry Hixson, the new interim CEO, can instill confidence in the market.

They have about a years worth of cash left at $63 million. There are also an SEC investigation and shareholder lawsuits that they will have to deal with. I think the idea is you will be counting on the fact that the data is sound but just mishandled.

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