Lab­Corp se­lects its new CEO; Pfiz­er names ex-Genen­tech vet as new head of on­col­o­gy R&D

Adam Schechter The Org

→ Long­time Mer­ck ex­ec­u­tive Adam Schechter will be tak­ing over as CEO and pres­i­dent of Lab­Corp with the re­tire­ment of David King on Oc­to­ber 31— when he will be­come ex­ec­u­tive chair­man of the board of di­rec­tors. The com­pa­ny says that “the board ex­pects to choose one of its mem­bers to be lead in­de­pen­dent di­rec­tor at a lat­er date.”

Schechter has been on Lab­Corp’s board since April 1, 2013, serv­ing as the lead in­de­pen­dent di­rec­tor since Jan­u­ary of this year. Dur­ing his long-time stint at Mer­ck, Schechter helped lead the in­te­gra­tion of Mer­ck and Scher­ing-Plough and held ex­ec­u­tive roles in the com­pa­ny, in­clud­ing pres­i­dent of glob­al hu­man health and pres­i­dent of Mer­ck’s glob­al phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal busi­ness.

Pa­tri­cia Hurter Busi­ness Wire

King has served as CEO for 13 years, start­ing in Jan­u­ary 1, 2007. Pri­or to his ap­point­ment to CEO at Lab­Corp, King was ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent, COO and ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of strate­gic plan­ning and cor­po­rate de­vel­op­ment. When King first joined the com­pa­ny in 2001 — he pre­vi­ous­ly served as the prin­ci­pal out­side le­gal coun­sel for sev­er­al years to the com­pa­ny — he served as SVP, gen­er­al coun­sel and chief com­pli­ance of­fi­cer.

Pa­tri­cia Hurter will be at the helm of Lyn­dra Ther­a­peu­tics — which is work­ing on an “ul­tra-long-act­ing oral de­liv­ery sys­tem” — as its CEO ef­fec­tive Sep­tem­ber 3, 2019. Hurter will be suc­ceed­ing co-founder Amy Schul­man, a VC who is be­com­ing ex­ec­u­tive chair. Pri­or to join­ing Lyn­dra, Hurter had a stint at Ver­tex as the com­pa­ny’s se­nior vice pres­i­dent of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal and pre­clin­i­cal sci­ences and in­ter­im head of glob­al reg­u­la­to­ry af­fairs.

Leif Jo­hans­son As­traZeneca

On­co­Cyte Cor­po­ra­tion — a de­vel­op­er of non-in­va­sive tests for the ear­ly de­tec­tion of lung can­cer — an­nounced that Ronald An­drews will take charge of the com­pa­ny as its CEO, ef­fec­tive Ju­ly 1. On­co­Cyte’s cur­rent CEO, William An­nett, will re­main with the com­pa­ny in an ad­vi­so­ry role dur­ing the tran­si­tion.

With over 30 years in the field, An­drews has had var­i­ous stints, in­clud­ing CEO and founder of Bethes­da Group, CEO of Clar­i­ent (for­mer­ly Chro­maV­i­sion Med­ical Sys­tems), CEO of GE Mol­e­c­u­lar Di­ag­nos­tics, ex­ec­u­tive roles at Roche Mol­e­c­u­lar Di­ag­nos­tics and he sits on the board of di­rec­tors for three com­pa­nies.

Jeff Set­tle­man Cal­i­co

Leif Jo­hans­son’s time as As­traZeneca chair­man is com­ing to an end as re­tire­ment looms. Jo­hans­son has had sev­en event­ful years with the com­pa­ny — sur­viv­ing a takeover bid by Pfiz­er, a turn­around mis­sion and some po­lit­i­cal tur­moil. Un­der FTSE-100 reg­u­la­tions, board mem­bers are not con­sid­ered “in­de­pen­dent” if they re­main in their po­si­tions be­yond nine years.

Jo­hans­son was re­cruit­ed to As­traZeneca’s board in 2012, af­ter stints at AB Elec­trolux and LM Er­ic­s­son. Soon af­ter join­ing the com­pa­ny, he brought on Pas­cal So­ri­ot from Roche to serve as the com­pa­ny’s chief. The two worked to­geth­er to help As­traZeneca bounce back from a raft of patent ex­pi­ra­tions and suc­cess­ful­ly fend­ed off Pfiz­er’s at­tempt to ex­e­cute a $118 bil­lion hos­tile takeover in 2014.

Scott Biller Agios

His pay to­taled £690,000 in 2018, mak­ing him one of the best-paid chairs of an FTSE-100 com­pa­ny ac­cord­ing to Sky News.

Pfiz­er scooped up Cal­i­co ex­ec Jeff Set­tle­man to head its on­col­o­gy R&D ops in La Jol­la. Set­tle­man steps in as the com­pa­ny pre­pares for the re­tire­ment of Robert Abra­ham — whose ex­pe­ri­ence stretch­es back to his ear­ly years at Wyeth.

Set­tle­man is now man­ag­ing 800 em­ploy­ees di­vid­ed be­tween tu­mor cell bi­ol­o­gy, can­cer im­munol­o­gy dis­cov­ery and tar­get ther­a­peu­tics, each with their own lead­ers.

Robert Ian­none Linkedin

Set­tle­man served as a Har­vard fac­ul­ty mem­ber for 18 years and his first en­try to the in­dus­try was in 2010 when he took up a dis­cov­ery po­si­tion at Genen­tech, which has seed­ed the Bay Area biotech hub with sea­soned tal­ent.

Pfiz­er’s on­col­o­gy unit has seen quite a bit of change in re­cent years. Just a few weeks ago, Dim­it­ry Nuyten, clin­i­cal head in im­muno-on­col­o­gy, jumped to Aduro. Charles Hugh-Jones left last Au­gust for Al­ler­gan af­ter a 16-month stint as CMO; on the com­mer­cial side, Liz Bar­rett was snatched up by No­var­tis be­fore mov­ing on to lead the biotech Uro­Gen.

John Oyler BeiGene

→ The CSO of Agios Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, Scott Biller, has an­nounced his re­tire­ment — af­ter be­ing with the com­pa­ny for near­ly a decade. Biller will re­tire at the end of 2019, but will con­tin­ue to serve as a strate­gic ad­vi­sor through the end of 2020. The com­pa­ny has ini­ti­at­ed a search for his suc­ces­sor.

→ Ear­li­er in April Rob Ian­none an­nounced that he was leav­ing his po­si­tion as CMO of Im­munomedics to head to Penn­syl­va­nia to be “close to his fam­i­ly.” Well, it looks like Jazz Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals — a com­pa­ny sell­ing and de­vel­op­ing drugs for sleep dis­or­ders and can­cer — has snatched the for­mer As­traZeneca ex­ec to lead its glob­al R&D team. Pri­or to his stint at As­traZeneca, Ian­none worked for Mer­ck, where he helped de­vel­op its PD-1 in­hibitor star, Keytru­da.

Alex­is Borisy Third Rock Ven­tures

→ As Chi­na’s in­flu­ence on glob­al biotech con­tin­ues to grow, Beigene CEO and chair­man John Oyler, who co-found­ed the com­pa­ny in 2010, has been elect­ed to BIO’s board of di­rec­tors as well as the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s health sec­tion gov­ern­ing board.

→ Ahead of Third Rock’s record $770 mil­lion fund for its next wave of in­vest­ments in the life sci­ences field, one key in­vestor, Alex­is Borisy, made an un­ex­pect­ed ex­it from the com­pa­ny. Borisy, who head­ed up in­vest­ments in Ma­gen­ta, Rev­o­lu­tion, Blue­print and more, is head­ed for parts cur­rent­ly un­known. He was not in­volved in rais­ing the last round and won’t be han­dling the in­vest­ment deals.

Robert Pe­tit Ad­vax­is

Caris­ma Ther­a­peu­tics — a bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­ny fo­cus­ing on de­vel­op­ing cell ther­a­py plat­forms based on en­gi­neered macrophages — has wel­comed Robert Pe­tit as its CSO. Pe­tit joins the biotech af­ter his most re­cent stint as CSO of Ad­vax­is. Pe­tit has a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence, co-found­ing an im­muno-on­col­o­gy pro­gram in the ear­ly days of cell ther­a­py, work­ing as a part of the pi­o­neer­ing team at BMS to es­tab­lish the first check­point in­hibitor ther­a­py, es­tab­lish­ing aca­d­e­m­ic IL-2 LAK and TIL cell treat­ment pro­grams — among oth­er things.

Samuel Zhang NeoIm­muneTech

NeoIm­muneTech (NIT) wel­comed Samuel Zhang to the com­pa­ny as its CBO. Zhang’s most re­cent stint was as VP, prod­uct and port­fo­lio strat­e­gy at Merus. Pri­or to that Zhang held po­si­tions at Eli Lil­ly, Pfiz­er, Bris­tol-My­ers Squibb and No­var­tis On­col­o­gy.

→ While its lead pro­gram ETH42 ad­vances to­ward clin­i­cal tri­als, Ethris — a com­pa­ny spe­cial­iz­ing in mR­NA ther­a­peu­tics, with specifics in pul­monary dis­ease — an­nounced the ap­point­ment of Thomas Lan­genick­el as CMO.  The No­var­tis vet was pre­vi­ous­ly the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor and head of res­pi­ra­to­ry pro­fil­ing with­in the trans­la­tion­al med­i­cine group. Pri­or to No­var­tis AG, Lan­genick­el held po­si­tions in dis­cov­ery med­i­cine at Bris­tol-My­ers Squibb.

Thomas Lan­genick­el Ethris

Ned Sharp­less has named Kea­gan Leni­han as the FDA chief of staff, re­plac­ing Lau­ren Sil­vis — who is leav­ing the agency some­time this month af­ter join­ing in May 2017 as deputy cen­ter di­rec­tor for pol­i­cy at the FDA’s Cen­ter for de­vices and ra­di­o­log­i­cal health. Pri­or to join­ing the FDA in Jan­u­ary 2018 as as­so­ciate com­mis­sion­er for strate­gic ini­tia­tives and ex­ter­nal af­fairs, Leni­han served as se­nior coun­selor to then-HHS sec­re­tary Tom Price and se­nior leg­isla­tive as­sis­tant to Price while he rep­re­sent­ed Geor­gia in the House as well as leg­isla­tive di­rec­tor for rep­re­sen­ta­tive Pe­te Ses­sions (R-Texas).

Kea­gan Leni­han FDA

→ Chi­na and US-based can­cer com­pa­ny Zai Lab has wel­comed Va­le­ria Fan­tin as its first-ever CSO. She will be based in the com­pa­ny’s US head­quar­ters in San Fran­cis­co, lead­ing the com­pa­ny’s in­ter­nal drug dis­cov­ery ef­fort on a glob­al ba­sis. Pri­or to join­ing Zai Lab, Fan­tin served as CSO at Oric Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals – where she helped dri­ve its GR an­tag­o­nist ORIC-101 to clin­ic. Pri­or to that Fan­tin has held stints at Pfiz­er, Agios and Mer­ck re­search lab­o­ra­to­ries. Saman­tha Du, Zai Lab’s founder and CEO said that Fan­tin’s over 20-year ex­pe­ri­ence in on­col­o­gy drug dis­cov­ery will help lead with the in­ter­nal dis­cov­ery pipeline — which has a goal to an­nounce one to two INDs per year start­ing in 2020.

Va­le­ria Fan­tin Linkedin

→ Over the last year, BIO has sep­a­rat­ed its pub­lic af­fairs func­tions in­to two new de­part­ments. The in­dus­try or­ga­ni­za­tion an­nounced that ef­fec­tive June 17, Rich Mas­ters will head one de­part­ment as EVP for pub­lic af­fairs. Mas­ters joins from pub­lic af­fairs firm Qorvis com­mu­ni­ca­tions. Last sum­mer, the com­pa­ny named Jeanne Hag­ger­ty as EVP for gov­ern­ment af­fairs and ex­ter­nal re­la­tions of the oth­er de­part­ment. In ad­di­tion, BIO has an­nounced the de­par­ture of Ken Li­saius, the cur­rent SVP for com­mu­ni­ca­tions, ef­fec­tive June 14.  

Rich Mas­ters Qorvis

Leo Phar­ma, who spe­cial­izes in der­ma­tol­ogy, an­nounced that its pres­i­dent and CEO, Gitte Aabo, will be step­ping down af­ter 27 years — 11 as CEO — with the com­pa­ny. Cather­ine Maz­za­c­co will suc­ceed Aabo, ef­fec­tive Au­gust 1. Pre­vi­ous­ly, Maz­za­c­co was the head of glob­al com­mer­cial op­er­a­tions at the bio­phar­ma di­vi­sion of the GE Health­care unit of Gen­er­al Elec­tric.

Cather­ine Maz­za­c­co Busi­ness Wire

Flu­idigm Cor­po­ra­tion an­nounced the ap­point­ment of its first-ever CSO, An­drew Quong, who joins from the Fred­er­ick Na­tion­al Lab­o­ra­to­ry for Can­cer Re­search — which is spon­sored by the Na­tion­al Can­cer In­sti­tute (NIC) — as its di­rec­tor of strate­gic sci­en­tif­ic ini­tia­tives and part­ner­ships. Pri­or to his time at Fred­er­ick Na­tion­al Lab­o­ra­to­ry, Quong served as a fac­ul­ty mem­ber in the De­part­ment of Can­cer Bi­ol­o­gy at Thomas Jef­fer­son Uni­ver­si­ty and the De­part­ment of On­col­o­gy at George­town Uni­ver­si­ty.

Ther­a­vance Ther­a­peu­tics — who J&J gam­bled $1 bil­lion last year in a part­ner­ship with the com­pa­ny in hopes of the next block­buster JAK for Crohn’s, ul­cer­a­tive col­i­tis — has brought on An­drew Hind­man as se­nior vice pres­i­dent and CFO of the com­pa­ny.

An­drew Quong Linkedin

Most re­cent­ly Hind­man served as CBO of Acor­da Ther­a­peu­tics, where he led the com­pa­ny’s ac­qui­si­tions Civ­i­tas Ther­a­peu­tics and Bi­otie Ther­a­pies. Be­fore that, Hind­man was CEO and mem­ber of the board of pri­vate­ly-held biotech­nol­o­gy, To­bi­ra Ther­a­peu­tics, which was ac­quired by Al­ler­gan in 2016. Hind­man has al­so held stints at Nodal­i­ty, Onyx Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and Gilead Sci­ences.

→  Ei­sai — the US sub­sidiary of Tokyo-based Ei­sai Co — an­nounced Patrick Coyle as vice pres­i­dent and CFO of the com­pa­ny. He will serve on the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee. Coyle will be re­spon­si­ble for the fi­nan­cial op­er­a­tions of the com­pa­ny in the US and Cana­da. Pri­or to join­ing Ei­sai, Coyle was vice pres­i­dent, fi­nan­cial plan­ning and analy­sis at IN­SMED. In ad­di­tion, he’s had stints in the fi­nance de­part­ments of No­var­tis, Bay­er Health­Care Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, Sun Chem­i­cal and Com­put­er Hori­zons Cor­po­ra­tion.

An­drew Hind­man Linkedin

→  Stephen Kennedy joins gene-edit­ing biotech Case­bia Ther­a­peu­tics as its SVP, head of tech­ni­cal op­er­a­tions. With 30 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in the field un­der his belt, Kennedy will over­see the com­pa­ny’s re­la­tion­ships with CROs and CMOs and will di­rect all man­u­fac­tur­ing and sup­port sup­ply chain, qual­i­ty and reg­u­la­to­ry. He will al­so es­tab­lish the process de­vel­op­ment and man­u­fac­tur­ing strat­e­gy for new gene-edit­ing based prod­ucts, both ex vi­vo cell-based and in vi­vo ther­a­pies. Most re­cent­ly, Kennedy served as the COO for restora­tive cell ther­a­py com­pa­ny His­to­gen­ics Cor­po­ra­tion. He’s al­so had stints at Mas­co­ma Corp., The No­var­tis/MIT Cen­ter for Con­tin­u­ous Man­u­fac­tur­ing and Gen­zyme.

Patrick Coyle Cis­ton

→  Eiger Bio­Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cls ap­points Jey­sen Yo­g­a­rat­nam — who spe­cial­izes in He­pati­tis B and C — as vice pres­i­dent of glob­al HDV clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment. At his re­cent stint as se­nior med­ical di­rec­tor at Janssen Bio­phar­ma, Yo­g­a­rat­nam led drug de­vel­op­ment of he­pati­tis B virus (HBV) cap­sid as­sem­bly mod­u­la­tors.

“Jey­sen’s back­ground and ex­pe­ri­ence in liv­er dis­ease and an­tivi­ral drug de­vel­op­ment align well with our cur­rent and fu­ture HDV pro­gram needs as we ad­vance Lon­a­farnib in the first-ever Phase III glob­al study for HDV and Pegin­ter­fer­on Lamb­da to­ward Phase III for HDV,” said David Cory, pres­i­dent and CEO of Eiger. In ad­di­tion to his time at Janssen, Yo­g­a­rat­nam has had stints at MIF­COR, Ver­tex – where he was the med­ical lead on the an­ti-HCV pro­tease in­hibitor, telapre­vir (In­civek) and Bris­tol-My­ers Squibb.

Stephen Kennedy Linkedin

→ Cel­lu­lar and im­mune ther­a­peu­tics com­pa­ny, Gami­da Cell, has strength­ened its man­age­ment team with the ad­di­tion of Tracey Lodie as CSO. Lodie will suc­ceed Tony Peled, who is tran­si­tion­ing to the new­ly cre­at­ed role of chief tech­nol­o­gy of­fi­cer at the com­pa­ny.

“We are de­light­ed to wel­come Tracey to Gami­da Cell. Her deep ex­pe­ri­ence in au­toim­mu­ni­ty and im­muno-on­col­o­gy re­search will be crit­i­cal as we con­tin­ue to de­vel­op GDA-201 an in­ves­ti­ga­tion­al, nat­ur­al killer cell-based im­munother­a­py in Phase I de­vel­op­ment with the po­ten­tial to treat hema­to­log­ic ma­lig­nan­cies and sol­id tu­mors,” said Ju­lian Adams, CEO of Gami­da Cell.

Jey­sen Yo­g­a­rat­nam Linkedin

Pri­or to join­ing Gami­da Cell, Lodie served as SVP, trans­la­tion­al im­munol­o­gy at Blue­Rock Ther­a­peu­tics and has had stints at Sy­ros Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and Sanofi-Gen­zyme.

Tracey Lodie Linkedin
Martin Shkreli [via Getty]

Pris­on­er #87850-053 does not get to add drug de­vel­op­er to his list of cred­its

Just days after Retrophin shed its last ties to founder Martin Shkreli, the biotech is reporting that the lead drug he co-invented flopped in a pivotal trial. Fosmetpantotenate flunked both the primary and key secondary endpoints in a placebo-controlled trial for a rare disease called pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration, or PKAN.

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Brian Kaspar. AveXis via Twitter

AveX­is sci­en­tif­ic founder fires back at No­var­tis CEO Vas Narasimhan, 'cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly de­nies any wrong­do­ing'

Brian Kaspar’s head was among the first to roll at Novartis after company execs became aware of the fact that manipulated data had been included in its application for Zolgensma, now the world’s most expensive therapy.

But in his first public response, the scientific founder at AveXis — acquired by Novartis for $8.7 billion — is firing back. And he says that not only was he not involved in any wrongdoing, he’s ready to defend his name as needed.

I reached out to Brian Kaspar after Novartis put out word that he and his brother Allen had been axed in mid-May, two months after the company became aware of the allegations related to manipulated data. His response came back through his attorneys.

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Eight weeks be­tween each HIV treat­ment? GSK notch­es PhI­II win as it chas­es OK for long-act­ing reg­i­men

GSK has cleared another test in its grand plan to topple Gilead’s HIV dominance by offering alternative treatments that consist of fewer drugs and last longer. A year after scoring positive Phase III data on a four-week course of cabotegravir and rilpivirine, its ViiV subsidiary now says that an eight-week regimen seem to work just as well.

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Finch grabs a $53M round de­signed to take their ‘break­through’ mi­cro­bio­me treat­ment through a po­ten­tial­ly piv­otal tri­al

With a breakthrough designation in one hand and a fresh $53 million in venture backing in the other, Somerville, MA-based Finch Therapeutics is taking a shot at a one-trial pathway to a possible FDA OK for their new treatment for preventing recurrent C. difficile infections.

The funding brings their total raise for the microbiome company to $130 million, CEO Mark Smith tells me — enough money to pave a runway past the FDA approval they’ve sketched into the most optimistic version for their near-term future. 

We­bi­nar: Re­al World End­points — the brave new world com­ing in build­ing fran­chise ther­a­pies

Several biopharma companies have been working on expanding drug labels through the use of real world endpoints, combing through the data to find evidence of a drug’s efficacy for particular indications. But we’ve just begun. Real World Evidence is becoming an important part of every clinical development plan, in the soup-through-nuts approach used in building franchises.

I’ve recruited a panel of 3 top experts in the field — the first in a series of premium webinars — to look at the practical realities governing what can be done today, and where this is headed over the next few years, at the prodding of the FDA.

ZHEN SU — Merck Serono’s Senior Vice President and Global Head of Oncology

ELLIOTT LEVY — Amgen’s Senior Vice President of Global Development

CHRIS BOSHOFF — Pfizer Oncology’s Chief Development Officer

A premium subscription to Endpoints News is required to attend this webinar. Please upgrade to either an Insider or Enterprise plan for access. Already have Endpoints Premium? Please sign-in below. You can contact our Subscriptions team at with any issues.

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Bob Smith, Pfizer

Pfiz­er is mak­ing a $500M state­ment to­day: Here’s how you be­come a lead play­er in the boom­ing gene ther­a­py sec­tor

Three years ago, Pfizer anted up $150 million in cash to buy Bamboo Therapeutics in Chapel Hill, NC as it cautiously stuck a toe in the small gene therapy pool of research and development.

Company execs followed up a year later with a $100 million expansion of the manufacturing operations they picked up in that deal for the UNC spinout, which came with $495 million in milestones.

And now they’re really going for it.

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Video: Putting the AI in R&D — with Badhri Srini­vasan, Tony Wood, Rosana Kapeller, Hugo Ceule­mans, Saurabh Sa­ha and Shoibal Dat­ta

During BIO this year, I had a chance to moderate a panel among some of the top tech experts in biopharma on their real-world use of artificial intelligence in R&D. There’s been a lot said about the potential of AI, but I wanted to explore more about what some of the larger players are actually doing with this technology today, and how they see it advancing in the future. It was a fascinating exchange, which you can see here. The transcript has been edited for brevity and clarity. — John Carroll

UP­DAT­ED: As­traZeneca’s Imfinzi/treme com­bo strikes out — again — in lung can­cer. Is it time for last rites?

AstraZeneca bet big on the future of their PD-L1 Imfinzi combined with the experimental CTLA-4 drug tremelimumab. But once again it’s gone down to defeat in a major Phase III study — while adding damage to the theory involving targeting cancer with a high tumor mutational burden.

Early Wednesday the pharma giant announced that their NEPTUNE study had failed, with the combination unable to beat standard chemo at overall survival in high TMB cases of advanced non-small cell lung cancer. We won’t get hard data until later in the year, but the drumbeat of failures will call into question what — if any — future this combination can have left.

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SEC calls out lit­tle Ther­a­peu­tic­sMD for its in­sid­er con­tacts with an­a­lysts to boost share price, then halt rout

Back in May 2017, following an FDA rejection, TherapeuticsMD saw its share price plummet to the lowest levels in two years. The little Florida biotech eventually found its way back to the good side of regulators, scoring a curious OK a year later for its therapy preventing vaginal pain during sex. But the SEC is now accusing it of selectively disclosing nonpublic information in attempts to manipulate its stock.

In two instances in June and July of 2017, TherapeuticsMD allegedly violated the Regulation Fair Disclosure rule by sharing material information with certain sell-side analysts and not the public, resulting in a more favorable stock move than otherwise would be expected.

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