Sequenom fires top execs after probe
Torrey Pines Mesa biotechnology company Sequenom on Monday fired two top executives, accepted the resignation of two others and terminatedthree other employees following an investigation into the handling of its development of a test for prenatal Down syndrome.
Fired were Harry Stylli, Sequenom’s president and chief executive officer, and Elizabeth Dragon, the company’s senior vice president of research and development.
The company also accepted the resignation of Chief Financial Officer Paul Hawran and one other undisclosed executive.
Three other employees were also let go, according to Sequenom. The terminations are effective immediately.
“While each of these officers and employees has denied wrongdoing, the special committee’s investigation has raised serious concerns, resulting in a loss of confidence by the independent members of the company’s board of directors in the personnel involved,” a statement from Sequenom read.
The firings follow the completion of an independent investigation into the handling of test data and results for the company’s test for Down syndrome, which included “inadequately substantiated claims, inconsistencies and errors.” according to Sequenom.
“Due to deficiencies in the company’s disclosure controls and procedures, in a number of instances such test data and results were reported to the public in the company’s press releases and other public statements,” the company said.
According to Sequenom, an independent counsel engaged in conjunction with the investigation interviewed more than 40 witnesses and reviewed over 300,000 documents and e-mails.
Sequenom also plans to implement new disclosure controls, change the company’s organizational and reporting structure, improve ethics training and implement new procedures for research and development.