Shares of Anavex ($AVXL) took a nasty hit after the New York-based biotech issued a 10-K this morning that included news of an SEC probe, evidently focused on "unusual" market activity for their stock. The stock slid 20% after investors found an item noting that the SEC had handed the company a subpoena three days before Christmas.
"On December 22, 2015, the Company received a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) which indicates that the agency is conducting a formal investigation," the 10-K filing noted. "The Company believes the subpoena and investigation relate to the recent unusual activity in the market for the Company's shares. The Company is fully cooperating with the SEC in this investigation and is unable to predict when this matter will be resolved or what further action, if any, the SEC may take in connection with it."
A few weeks ago, Anavex claimed that it had successfully concluded a short, tiny, single-arm study of its Alzheimer's drug, 2-73, with evidence of clinical efficacy in improving symptoms of the disease. That claim attracted some hooting on Twitter as commentators pitched in with criticisms of the big claims made on a small 5-week trial that didn't include a comparator arm.
Anavex's 2-73 is designed to hit sigma-1 and muscarinic receptors. A host of large and small companies have been pursuing new Alzheimer's drugs, but the field has been littered with a long string of setbacks over the past decade.
- here's the 10-K