Don't Miss

One vaccine maker is thinking about intentionally exposing volunteers to the coronavirus

Coronavirus vaccine trials have hit a serious snag, as there aren’t enough COVID-19 patients in the communities where volunteers might reside. If not enough people get sick, researchers can’t assess the effectiveness of the vaccine candidate. AstraZeneca, which will produce the promising Oxford vaccine, confirmed that it’s considering challenge trials where subjects are exposed to…

COVID-19 compared to other typical United States causes of death

The novel coronavirus has killed over 100,000 Americans in just the four months since the first confirmed case in the country.To put that into perspective, we compared that death toll to the average number of deaths from several common causes between February and May of recent years.While heart disease and cancer typically kill around 200,000…

Roller coasters in Denmark limited to one family or party per train: report

Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.Roller coasters are about to get lonelier.Theme parks in Denmark preparing to reopen are figuring out how to implement new regulations put in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. One impact of these new rules means that some…

Plexiglass Is the New Hot Commodity as Businesses Try to Reopen

Manufacturers are racing to crank out the hand sanitizer, masks and clear plastic dividers that are emerging as integral elements for reopening the U.S. economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.Stepped-up production has sent prices for materials soaring: The alcohol used in sanitizer has tripled in price since January. Wait times for plexiglass-style sheeting are now measured…

2021 BMW 4 Series Coupe Leaked With Polarizing Grille

The grille is real, folks. You're going to have to live with it. You weren’t supposed to see these images for another 48 hours or so, but here it is – the new BMW 4 Series Coupe. Photos of what seems to be a brochure have made their way onto Instagram courtesy of BMWorldM account,…

SEC halts trading in two stocks amid claims about COVID-19 tests

Shares of two companies that a short seller alleged were making fraudulent claims about tests for COVID-19 were suspended from trading by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday, as the regulator moves to crack down on illegal activity during the pandemic.

Trading of Predictive Technology Group Inc. shares
PRED,
-8.88%

was halted at 9: 30 a.m. Eastern time “because of questions regarding the accuracy and adequacy of information in the marketplace concerning the company,” the SEC said in a statement.

Those questions relate to statements the company made “about being able to immediately distribute large quantities of serology tests to detect the presence of COVID19 antibodies,” in press releases issued on March 25, March 30 and April 8, said the SEC statement.

Shares of SCWorx Corp.
WORX,
-6.42%
,
meanwhile, were suspended, also at 9: 30 a.m., “because of questions and concerns regarding the adequacy and accuracy of publicly available information in the marketplace concerning SCWorx,” the SEC said.

These included press releases and other publicly disseminated statements, since at least April 13, about SCWorx’s agreement to sell COVID-19 tests, as well as a Form 8-K filed on April 16, regarding the sale of COVID-19 tests.

“We commend the SEC for taking swift action against these questionable actors,” Nathan Anderson, a partner at short seller Hindenburg Research and author of several reports on the companies, told MarketWatch. “We find it reprehensible that some companies seem to be taking advantage of the global pandemic by making suspect claims.”

Predictive Technology’s stock was halted at 82 cents, having gained 12% since the start of the year, outperforming the major benchmarks. SCWorx was halted at $5.76, after gaining 100.5% in the year to date. (The S&P 500
SPX,
+2.29%

is down 13.2% in 2020.) Many small biotech companies have seen their stocks soar on hopes they will be able to cash in on the need for testing and treatments for the pandemic, which has infected 2.61 million people worldwide and caused 182,004 fatalities, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.

Don’t miss: The future of successful coronavirus response: Mass testing at work and in church and self-administered tests

In a report published on April 17, Hindenburg questioned the news from SCWorx, a nanocap headquartered in a Regus rental office in New York City, of a $35 million–a–week deal to buy and resell COVID-19 tests, leading to a massive 434% surge in its stock price that lifted it out of penny-stock territory.

Among the issues the report highlighted:

• SCWorx said it had a “committed purchase order” from virtual health company Rethink My Healthcare for 2 million rapid testing units with a provision for additional weekly orders of 2 million units for 23 weeks, according to a press release. But Rethink My Health is a startup founded by a 25-year-old in August 2018 with only 3 employees and 3 consultants/advisors listed on its team page

• SCWorx’ chief executive has “a checkered past,” according to Hindenburg, and pleaded guilty to felony tax-evasion charges, in a case stemming from 2015.

• The supplier SCWorx is working with, an Australian company called Promedical, has a CEO, Neran De Silva, who is alleged to have falsified his medical credentials, with a former company having been accused of defrauding its customers and investors, according to Hindenburg and Australian media reports.

• Promedical told the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that it was working with Chinese manufacturer Wondfo in selling its COVID-19 test kits, but Wondfo said that was false and denied any relationship. Promedical’s name was then removed from FDA test-provider lists in the U.S. and Australia.

An SCWorx spokesperson declined to comment beyond directing MarketWatch to the company’s own press releases and SEC filings.

In a separate report published March 27, Hindenburg questioned Predictive Technology’s COVID-19 test announcement. The issues it raised include:

• Predictive is a small company based in Salt Lake City that offers stem-cell products to clinics across the U.S. In March, it said it was partnering with a Chinese manufacturer called Jiangsu Dablood Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. to make and distribute rapid COVID-19 tests that could produce results in just 15 minutes. But Dablood, as that company is known, is not an approved manufacturer of tests for the virus, and media in China have reported that it has been selling them without medical or production licenses.

• Predictive’s chief executive, Brad Robinson, has been sued for making claims about a previous medical product’s efficacy and for falsely claiming it would be pitched by the TV personality Dr. Oz and the Gates Foundation, among others.

“We see 100% near-term downside in shares of Predictive and expect that Predictive must continue to dilute equity through near-term stock sales in order to survive,” Anderson wrote in the report.

Predictive did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but it did publish a response on its website from the Dablood board in response to the Hindenburg report.

That comment said the company is a unit of a unit of China’s Da’an gene, which is developing in vitro diagnostic reagents and testing equipment and is licensed in China. That company is not included in an FDA list of tests that have received Emergency Use Authorization for tests.

Read now: Coronavirus update: California finds first official cases came in February, not March

Latest Posts

One vaccine maker is thinking about intentionally exposing volunteers to the coronavirus

Coronavirus vaccine trials have hit a serious snag, as there aren’t enough COVID-19 patients in the communities where volunteers might reside. If not enough people get sick, researchers can’t assess the effectiveness of the vaccine candidate. AstraZeneca, which will produce the promising Oxford vaccine, confirmed that it’s considering challenge trials where subjects are exposed to…

COVID-19 compared to other typical United States causes of death

The novel coronavirus has killed over 100,000 Americans in just the four months since the first confirmed case in the country.To put that into perspective, we compared that death toll to the average number of deaths from several common causes between February and May of recent years.While heart disease and cancer typically kill around 200,000…

Roller coasters in Denmark limited to one family or party per train: report

Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.Roller coasters are about to get lonelier.Theme parks in Denmark preparing to reopen are figuring out how to implement new regulations put in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. One impact of these new rules means that some…

Plexiglass Is the New Hot Commodity as Businesses Try to Reopen

Manufacturers are racing to crank out the hand sanitizer, masks and clear plastic dividers that are emerging as integral elements for reopening the U.S. economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.Stepped-up production has sent prices for materials soaring: The alcohol used in sanitizer has tripled in price since January. Wait times for plexiglass-style sheeting are now measured…

Latest Posts

One vaccine maker is thinking about intentionally exposing volunteers to the coronavirus

Coronavirus vaccine trials have hit a serious snag, as there aren’t enough COVID-19 patients in the communities where volunteers might reside. If not enough people get sick, researchers can’t assess the effectiveness of the vaccine candidate. AstraZeneca, which will produce the promising Oxford vaccine, confirmed that it’s considering challenge trials where subjects are exposed to…

COVID-19 compared to other typical United States causes of death

The novel coronavirus has killed over 100,000 Americans in just the four months since the first confirmed case in the country.To put that into perspective, we compared that death toll to the average number of deaths from several common causes between February and May of recent years.While heart disease and cancer typically kill around 200,000…

Roller coasters in Denmark limited to one family or party per train: report

Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.Roller coasters are about to get lonelier.Theme parks in Denmark preparing to reopen are figuring out how to implement new regulations put in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. One impact of these new rules means that some…

Plexiglass Is the New Hot Commodity as Businesses Try to Reopen

Manufacturers are racing to crank out the hand sanitizer, masks and clear plastic dividers that are emerging as integral elements for reopening the U.S. economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.Stepped-up production has sent prices for materials soaring: The alcohol used in sanitizer has tripled in price since January. Wait times for plexiglass-style sheeting are now measured…