Akari CEO Abruptly Resigns Following Abuse of Corporate Credit Card
For the second time in less than one year, Akari Therapeutics is without a chief executive officer. David Horn Solomon abruptly resigned after being caught using the company credit card for personal purposes, the company said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Shares of Akari Therapeutics have plunged more than 15 percent this morning following the news. Shares are trading at $1.83 as of 10:35 a.m.
Horn Solomon’s resignation followed the results of an investigation conducted by the company with the assistance of an independent law firm, the company disclosed in its brief filing. Horn Solomon’s resignation was effective May 8. Akari did not disclose how much money Horn Solomon charged to the company or what kinds of items he charged. Akari said that it “does not consider the amounts charged to be material to the company’s operations.”
With the ouster of Horn Solomon, the company will now initiate a new search for a CEO. Clive Richardson, who has served as the company’s chief operations officer for two years and member of the board of directors, was tapped to serve as the company’s interim CEO.
This is the second time in less than a year an Akari CEO has stepped down due to some sort of scandal. This time last year, after being placed on administrative leave, Gur Roshwalb, chief executive officer of Akari Therapeutics, announced he had resigned his position. Roshwalb’s resignation comes in the wake of Akari’s investigation into whether or not Roshwalb, or any other company executive, was involved with an April 27 report issued by Edison Research Ltd. (and later retracted) regarding Akari’s Phase II clinical trial of Coversin for paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH). Akari said it reviewed the note and determined that the report issued by Edison was approved by Roshwalb in violation of company policy.
Horn Solomon’s resignation came two months after Akari announced its Phase II PNH clinical trial achieved its primary endpoints. Patients on the higher dose of Coversin achieved a median LDH (lactate dehydrogenase; an indicator of hemolysis) of <1.5 times the ULN (upper limit of normal) at day 28, day 60 and day 90, the company said. Based on those results, Akari said it intends to implement a Phase III trial of Coversin in PNH patients who have not previously been treated with a complement inhibitor at the end of the first quarter of 2018.