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SillaJen raided after selling of shares by top executives

Aug 29,2019
Biopharmaceutical company SillaJen was raided by prosecutors Wednesday after rumors that the company’s top executives sold stock knowing that clinical trials of its liver cancer therapy, Pexa-Vec, would be halted soon.

Seoul district prosecutors seized computers and documents at SillaJen’s Seoul office in Yeouido, western Seoul, and its Busan headquarters.

“The scope of the search and seizure was limited to several executives,” SillaJen said in a notice uploaded on the company’s official website, Wednesday.

“We will fully cooperate with the investigation.”

On Aug. 4, the biopharmaceutical firm announced a halt to a global phase 3 clinical trial for its Pexa-Vec therapy. SillaJen was advised a few days earlier by an independent Data Monitoring Committee (DMC) to stop the trial as Pexa-Vec failed to extend the lives of liver cancer patients using it.

This was a major setback for SillaJen. Many other drugs it had in the pipeline were based on Pexa-Vec’s efficacy.

Once a rising star on Korea’s secondary Kosdaq bourse, SillaJen’s shares plummeted between Aug. 1 and Aug. 5 when the company first informed investors of the DMC notice.

By Song Kyoung-son