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Galena Biopharma  (GALE) CEO Allegedly Fired Following Stock-Promotions Scandal, New CEO Named

8/21/2014 6:16:54 AM

Galena Biopharma  CEO Allegedly Fired Following Stock-Promotions Scandal, New CEO Named Galena Biopharma CEO Allegedly Fired Following Stock-Promotions Scandal, New CEO Named

August 21, 2014

By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

Mark Ahn, Chief Executive Officer of Portland, Oregon-based Galena Biopharma (GALE) was forced to resign by the company’s board of directors at a special meeting held Monday. Ahn is to be replaced by Mark W. Schwartz, PhD, who will be President and CEO, effective immediately. Schwartz is also expected to be on the Board of Directors.

Ahn’s ouster is alleged to be related to an internal investigation of Galena hiring an investor relations company to lead a stock-promotions campaign. The firm, The DreamTeam Group, wrote and published misleading and potentially fraudulent promotional articles about Galena.

These were not the first allegations. In early 2013 Seeking Alpha removed five articles from its website related to Galena. Possibly as a result of these articles, Galena stock tripled in value. The DreamTeam Group received $50,0000 for 240 days of “advertising, branding, marketing, investor relations and social media services.” The SEC is investigating, and five lawsuits have been filed against the company in federal and state courts, alleging violating of federal securities laws and breaching fiduciary duties.
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Ahn’s replacement, Mark W. Schwartz, PhD, was formerly Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Galena. Prior to that position, he was Apthera, Inc.’s President and Chief Executive Officer until Apthera was acquired by Galena in 2011. Schwartz has more than 30 years of experience in biotechnology and life science, including executive positions with Bayhill Therapeutics, Calyx Therapeutics, Trega BioSciences, Incyte Genomics, and others.

In a company statement, Schwartz said, “I am grateful to the Board of Directors for this opportunity and am excited to lead our talented and dedicated team. Galena’s corporate strategy, with two commercial products and multiple promising and innovative development programs, provides a solid basis for long-term value. I am passionate about our prospects, and look forward to working for the benefit of patients, physicians, and shareholders.”

Galena’s focus is on targeted oncology treatments. The company has two commercial products, Abstral®, a formulation of fentanyl citrate that is used to treat pain in cancer patients, and Zuplenz®, used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by surgery, high-risk and moderate-risk chemoterapy and radiation therapy. It also has several products in its pipeline, including NeuVax™, a potential immunotherapy for breast cancer patients, and GALE-301, a potential treatment for ovarian cancer.

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