Report slams 'Bloomberg' over article on Pluristem girl's death
Nov 11, 2012 (Menafn - Globes - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --BioMed Reports healthcare and biotech new portal has slammed a "Bloomberg" report from last week about Pluristem Therapeutics Ltd. PSTI(dax:PJT). The report said that the article was "heavily skewed and apparently poorly researched" and caused so much damage to share prices that company officials have publicly called for a published correction."
In a statement on Friday, Pluristem said that it "has requested 'Bloomberg' to issue a correction specific to the article's claim and implication that Pluristem knew of the death of this patient at the time of a recent capital raising transaction and withheld this information from its investors. This is not correct. The company did not learn of this fact until after the financing was completed."
Last Wednesday, "Bloomberg" alleged that Pluristem concealed the death of a 7-year old girl who had received the company's placental stem cells under Israel's compassionate use program for experimental drugs, and that the company's announcements were misleading and possibly negligent.
Pluristem's share price plummeted following "Bloomberg's" article, but it recovered much of the lost ground with a 13.7 percent gain on Nasdaq on Friday to 3.24, giving a market cap of 186 million. The share price rose 3 percent by mid-afternoon on the TASE today to NIS 13.73.
The report said, "Worse yet, the timing of this particular article, which was republished and parroted by other publications, comes immediately ahead of significant and highly anticipated catalysts potentially poised to push the stock higher.
"Is it any wonder small retail investors have grown tired of getting hurt and shaken out of profits? So much so that more and more of them are deciding to sit on the sidelines as they are left with few options. Some have taken to filing complaints with already over-stretched regulatory agencies at record numbers, but most simply exit the markets shaking their heads."
The report claims, "While the 'Bloomberg' piece was peppered with hard to argue facts, its main thesis was potentially libelous. 'Facts' were either fabricated or simply not fact checked by the editors who approved them for publication. At the center of the piece was a pediatric patient whose life was extended by a revolutionary process, which was developed by Pluristem and used under guidance by the government of Israel, who approved the compassionate use treatment.
"The well documented case, developed after doctors in Romania had given up and declared that there was no chance to cure the local seven year old girl. Her mother was advised to go to Israel to treat the rare genetic flaw, which prevented her daughter's body from producing blood cells. The gamble paid off and saved her daughter's life. She survived for months and died of complications which were neither related nor associated with the treatment provided at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem by Pluristem. "The patient was able to leave the hospital and survived six months, the last four of them in her home country of Romania," said company officials."
BioMed Reports adds, "Furthermore, our own calls to officials and others familiar with this case in Israel confirm that doctors at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital were the first to learn about the young girl's death on September 23, 2012. Four days after Pluristem's financing closed. Several days later, on the September 27, officials from the Israel's Ministry of Health sent Pluristem a copy of an official post-mortem report, which had been prepared by hospital officials. Ministry officials informed Pluristem that the death was not related to their life-saving treatment or protocol and that they were therefore not required to file the information as a material event.
"Company officials hid nothing. In fact, at the time, Pluristem CEO Zami Aberman even spoke to Israeli media about the sad death of the young girl. Yesterday, Aberman told the same Israeli publication that Pluristem was unaware of the girl's death at the time of the offering, but only learned of it a few days later, because she was not being monitored by the company. He added that the girl died of an infection, despite the improvement in her condition following Pluristem's treatment."
The report concluded, "It appears blatantly clear, given these facts and timelines, that upon completion of Pluristem's very bullish capital raise, which was facilitated by the sale of 32M in common stock and warrants on September 19, 2012, the company did not have or hide any information about the unrelated death of the 7-year-old girl in Romania."
The report questions the writers and their real agenda. It says, "Fundamentally, nothing has changed. For every panicked seller, there was a buyer who knows that at any given moment the firm is set to hear back from the FDA with a (very likely positive) decision about their pending Orphan Drug Status application." It adds that Pluristem will have other upcoming positive catalysts, including announcing the results of additional clinical trials in new indications, which have been the topic of discussion among a new advisory board made up of key opinion leaders in the area of bone marrow transplantation from the US, Europe, and Israel.
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