For­mer MiMedx CEO and COO are con­vict­ed on fraud, con­spir­a­cy charges

The MiMedx saga — which has in­clud­ed a months-long in­ves­ti­ga­tion, FBI in­volve­ment and al­le­ga­tions that the com­pa­ny fraud­u­lent­ly boost­ed its sales — has re­sult­ed in the con­vic­tion of two for­mer ex­ec­u­tives. But it isn’t quite over yet.

Park­er “Pe­te” Pe­tit

For­mer CEO Park­er “Pe­te” Pe­tit and for­mer COO William Tay­lor have been con­vict­ed on a se­cu­ri­ties fraud count and a con­spir­a­cy count, re­spec­tive­ly, in the South­ern Dis­trict Court of New York. The Man­hat­tan US at­tor­ney’s of­fice ac­cused the men of false­ly re­port­ing $9.5 mil­lion of rev­enue in 2015 to boost the com­pa­ny’s stock and fill their own pig­gy banks, per a Law360 re­port.

But the de­fen­dants have de­nied the ac­cu­sa­tions, and say they plan on ap­peal­ing the ver­dict. Pe­tit was ac­quit­ted on a se­cu­ri­ties fraud count, while Tay­lor was ac­quit­ted on a fraud count.

William “Bill” Tay­lor

“We are pleased that the ju­ry ac­quit­ted Mr. Tay­lor of se­cu­ri­ties fraud. We are of course dis­ap­point­ed in the ver­dict on the con­spir­a­cy count, but Mr. Tay­lor ful­ly in­tends to seek to have the ver­dict over­turned,” Tay­lor’s lawyer William Bur­ck told Law360.

MiMedx $MDXG, which pro­duces sur­gi­cal and tis­sue-graft prod­ucts for vet­er­ans and mil­i­tary hos­pi­tals, ran in­to trou­ble back in Feb­ru­ary of 2018, when the FBI showed up at the door of Marc Co­hodes. The vo­cal short sell­er had in­sult­ed the com­pa­ny and Pe­tit in hun­dreds of tweets. Af­ter FBI agents or­dered Co­hodes to stop, his lawyer went to the US De­part­ment of Jus­tice with a com­plaint.

The DOJ seemed to be al­ready in­ves­ti­gat­ing MiMedx’s sales and dis­tri­b­u­tion prac­tices. The com­pa­ny faced law­suits brought by ex-em­ploy­ees who ac­cused it of fraud­u­lent­ly boost­ing sales. And it spent sev­er­al years chal­leng­ing the FDA on whether its prod­ucts met reg­u­la­to­ry stan­dards.

MiMedx said it was con­duct­ing an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion in Feb­ru­ary of 2018, and that it would re­state its fi­nan­cial state­ments go­ing back six years. It part­ed ways with Pe­tit and Tay­lor and slashed 24% of its work­force to start a “new chap­ter.” By No­vem­ber, it delist­ed from Nas­daq.

The in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion, con­duct­ed by King & Spald­ing with KP­MG as an au­di­tor, turned up a slew of ac­cu­sa­tions, in­clud­ing that MiMedx made ma­te­r­i­al mis­state­ments and omis­sions about its deals, that Pe­tit lied un­der oath when dis­cussing its largest dis­trib­u­tor, and that the com­pa­ny’s ac­tions were “de­signed to ma­nip­u­late the tim­ing and recog­ni­tion of rev­enue.”

The com­pa­ny’s shares, which once trad­ed at a high of $16.75, closed at $6.79 apiece on Thurs­day.

What comes next for the for­mer ex­ecs? Pe­tit is sched­uled for sen­tenc­ing on Feb 23, and Tay­lor is due back the fol­low­ing day. Pe­tit could be look­ing at up to 20 years for the se­cu­ri­ties fraud count, while Tay­lor’s con­spir­a­cy count could land him up to 5 years.

Tar­get­ing a Po­ten­tial Vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty of Cer­tain Can­cers with DNA Dam­age Re­sponse

Every individual’s DNA is unique, and because of this, every patient responds differently to disease and treatment. It is astonishing how four tiny building blocks of our DNA – A, T, C, G – dictate our health, disease, and how we age.

The tricky thing about DNA is that it is constantly exposed to damage by sources such as ultraviolet light, certain chemicals, toxins, and even natural biochemical processes inside our cells.¹ If ignored, DNA damage will accumulate in replicating cells, giving rise to mutations that can lead to premature aging, cancer, and other diseases.

Fol­low biotechs go­ing pub­lic with the End­points News IPO Track­er

The Endpoints News team is continuing to track IPO filings for 2021, and we’ve designed a new tracker page for the effort.

Check it out here: Biopharma IPOs 2021 from Endpoints News

You’ll be able to find all the biotechs that have filed and priced so far this year, sortable by quarter and listed by newest first. As of the time of publishing on Feb. 25, there have already been 16 biotechs debuting on Nasdaq so far this year, with an additional four having filed their S-1 paperwork.

Steve Cutler, Icon CEO (Icon)

In the biggest CRO takeover in years, Icon doles out $12B for PRA Health Sci­ences to fo­cus on de­cen­tral­ized clin­i­cal work

Contract research M&A had a healthy run in recent years before recently petering out. But with the market ripe for a big buyout and the Covid-19 pandemic emphasizing the importance of decentralized trials, Wednesday saw a tectonic shift in the CRO world.

Icon, the Dublin-based CRO, will acquire PRA Health Sciences for $12 billion in a move that will shake up the highest rungs of a fragmented market. The merger would combine the 5th- and 6th-largest CROs by 2020 revenue, according to Icon, and the merger will set the newco up to be the second-largest global CRO behind only IQVIA.

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Tom Barnes (Orna)

The mR­NA era is here. MPM be­lieves the fu­ture be­longs to oR­NA — and Big Phar­ma wants a seat at the ta­ble

If the ultra-fast clinical development of Covid-19 vaccines opened the world’s eyes to the promises of messenger RNA, the subsequent delays in supply offered a crash course on the ultra-complex process of producing them. Even before the formulation and fill-finish steps, mRNA is the precious end product from an arduous journey involving enzyme-aided transcription, modification and purification.

For Bristol Myers Squibb, Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Gilead’s Kite and Astellas, it’s time to rethink the way therapeutic RNA is engineered.

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S&P ex­pects steady ero­sion in Big Phar­ma's cred­it pro­file in 2021 as new M&A deals roll in — but don't un­der­es­ti­mate their un­der­ly­ing strength

S&P Global has taken a look at the dominant forces shaping the pharma market and come to the conclusion that there will be more downgrades than upgrades in 2021 — the 8th straight year of steady decline.

But it’s not all bad news. Some things are looking up, and there’s still plenty of money to be made in an industry that enjoys a 30% to 40% profit margin, once you factor in steep R&D expenses.

Tal Zaks, Moderna CMO (AP Photo/Rodrique Ngowi, via still image from video)

CMO Tal Zaks bids Mod­er­na a sur­prise adieu as biotech projects $18.4B in rev­enue, plots post-Covid ex­pan­sion

How do you exit a company after six years in style? Developing one of the most lucrative and life-saving products in pharma history is probably not the worst way to go.

Tal Zaks, Moderna’s CMO since 2015, will leave the mRNA biotech in September, the biotech disclosed in their annual report this morning. The company has already retained the recruitment firm Russell Reynolds to find a replacement.

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank CEO (glen photo/Shutterstock)

Japan's Soft­Bank plots bil­lions in biotech in­vest­ments in move that could keep the val­u­a­tion flood ris­ing — re­port

The valuation crazy train in biotech continues to roll into the new year with more than a dozen companies taking a chance on Nasdaq and money flowing in from all sides. Now, a Japanese institutional investor is reportedly weighing an entry into the market in a big way — will it keep the bitcoin-esque flood rising?

Already a part-time investor in biotech, SoftBank could drop billions of dollars into the industry as part of helmsman Masayoshi Son’s plan to spend around $80 billion of the firm’s own assets, according to a report from Bloomberg citing people familiar with the plan.

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Ken Frazier, Merck CEO (Bess Adler/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

UP­DAT­ED: Mer­ck takes a swing at the IL-2 puz­zle­box with a $1.85B play for buzzy Pan­dion and its au­toim­mune hope­fuls

When Roger Perlmutter bid farewell to Merck late last year, the drugmaker perhaps best known now for sales giant Keytruda signaled its intent to take a swing at early-stage novelty with the appointment of discovery head Dean Li. Now, Merck is signing a decent-sized check to bring an IL-2 moonshot into the fold.

Merck will shell out roughly $1.85 billion for Pandion Pharmaceuticals, a biotech hoping to gin up regulatory T cells (Tregs) to treat a range of autoimmune disorders, the drugmaker said Thursday.

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Biden is look­ing be­yond Wood­cock or Sharf­stein for FDA com­mis­sion­er — re­port

Neither Janet Woodcock nor Joshua Sharfstein is likely to be nominated as the permanent FDA commissioner, Steve Usdin at BioCentury reports.

The White House is looking for alternatives to Woodcock, the acting chief and longtime CDER director, after opposition from several Democratic senators who are calling on others to block her nomination if her name is put forth, according to Usdin. Sharfstein, the former principal deputy FDA commissioner and current Johns Hopkins professor, is out of the running altogether.