Immunomedics hits back at activist investor
- After trying to block the closing of a deal between Immunomedics and Seattle Genetics, the Delaware Chancery Court has shut down the activist investor VenBio's request, preventing it from interfering with any aspect of the agreement before the biotech's annual meeting.
- Immunomedics has now turned on VenBio, filing a federal lawsuit on Feb. 17 and seeking financial redress from the company and its four director candidates on Feb. 21.
- The aim is to stop "further violations" and ensure full disclosure from VenBio before the annual meeting on March 3. Immunomedics has also agreed to hold off the licensing agreement closure until March 10.
Last week in a spat between shareholder and company, VenBio, Immunomedics' largest shareholder, attempted to block the pending deal between Seattle Genetics and the New Jersey biotech. The deal would hand global rights for the clinical stage cancer drug IMMU-132 (sacituzumab govitecan) to Seattle Genetics.
Now that the Delaware Chancery Court has shut down VenBio's lawsuit, Immunomedics is filing a lawsuit of its own. This targets VenBio and its four director candidates, claiming "material violations of federal securities laws in connection with [Immunomedics'] upcoming 2016 Annual Meeting of Stockholders."
The lawsuit includes claims that VenBio intentionally delayed its schedule 13D filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission declaring its ownership of over 5% of the company's shares "to conceal its intent to try to take control of the company’s board of directors." The suit also argues that VenBio failed to disclose levels of ownership of shares amongst its supporters, which could be as much as 19%, and spread misinformation by releasing voting results.
As a result of the pending litigation, Immunomedics has announced in a Form 8-K that it will delay closing the licensing agreement until after March 10, 2017.
Follow Suzanne Elvidge on Twitter