NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bragar Eagel & Squire, P.C., a nationally recognized stockholder rights law firm, announces that a class action lawsuit has been filed against Veru Inc. (“Veru” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: VERU) in the United States Southern District Court of Florida on behalf of all persons and entities who purchased or otherwise acquired Veru securities between May 11, 2022 and November 9, 2022, both dates inclusive (the “Class Period”). Investors have until February 3, 2023 to apply to the Court to be appointed as lead plaintiff in the lawsuit.
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Veru is primarily an oncology-based biopharmaceutical company that develops drugs for the management of breast and prostate cancers. Veru also develops medicines for COVID-19 and other diseases related to viral and acute respiratory distress syndrome (“ARDS”), and has two FDA-approved products for sexual health.
Veru “opportunistically” developed sabizabulin (VERU-111), an orally administered “microtubule disruptor” – a drug that inhibits a virus’ ability to replicate itself – for the treatment of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients at high risk for ARDS. Veru had originally developed sabizabulin with the intention of using it as a treatment for prostate cancer. In January 2022, however, the FDA granted Veru’s COVID-19 program Fast Track designation. At the time, there was no authorized or approved treatment for hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19 infections.
Throughout the Class Period, Defendants made false and/or misleading statements, as well as failed to disclose material adverse facts about the data from the sabizabulin Phase 3 trial and the Company’s interactions with the FDA. Specifically, Veru misled its shareholders to believe that the data from the Phase 3 trial was sufficient to support Emergency Use Authorization (“EUA”) and even the submission of a New Drug Application (“NDA”) without any further studies. VERU’s filings therefore concealed the true risks faced by the Company in gaining approval for its EUA request.
Veru conducted a randomized, double-blind Phase 3 trial of sabizabulin’s effectiveness in treating hospitalized adults with moderate to severe COVID-19 at high risk for ARDS. The Phase 3 study sought to enroll 210 patients and evaluate mortality after 60 days of treatment.
On April 11, 2022, Veru issued a press release announcing that the company would be terminating sabizabulin’s Phase 3 trial early on the basis of positive interim data, after Veru’s Independent Data Safety Monitoring Committee conducted an interim analysis of the first 150 patients randomized into the study. Veru reported that sabizabulin “resulted in a clinically and statistically meaningful 55% relative reduction in deaths” relative to the placebo group (45% mortality at 60 days for the placebo group vs. 20% mortality for the sabizabulin-treated group).
On an investor call held that same day, Veru’s Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer Mitchell Steiner, M.D. (“Steiner”) told investors that Veru had been in “constant dialogue with FDA” since receiving the Fast Track designation and that the Company “plan[ned] to meet with FDA to discuss the next steps” including submitting an application for Emergency Use Authorization (“EUA”) on the strength of the positive Phase 3 interim results. Steiner also addressed the placebo group’s 45% mortality rate, stating that this death rate “underscores how sick these patients really are.”
During the call, an analyst from Cantor Fitzgerald asked Steiner to “elaborate” on any differences in the standard of care between the placebo group and the sabizabulin-treated group in the Phase 3 trial. Steiner responded: “So, there are no imbalances with males and females and with standard of care is exactly – I mean, the system works, so the randomization works. So, there are no imbalances.”
Veru’s share price more than doubled on April 11, 2022, from an opening price of $5.99 per share to a closing price of $12.28.
On May 2, 2022, Veru announced that the FDA had granted the Company a preEUA meeting to discuss sabizabulin’s Phase 3 results, to be held on May 10, 2022.
On May 11, 2022, Veru issued a press release announcing that in the May 10, 2022, pre-EUA meeting, the FDA “agreed that the efficacy and safety data from the completed Phase 3 clinical study in hospitalized COVID-19 patients at high risk for acute respiratory distress syndrome are sufficient to support the submission of a request for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).” The press release quoted Steiner as saying, “The discussion with FDA in the Pre-EUA meeting has established a direct path forward to expedite the availability of sabizabulin to the high risk hospitalized patients with COVID-19 . . . In the Phase 3 COVID-19 clinical study, sabizabulin demonstrated a clear mortality benefit in hospitalized moderate to severe COVID-19 patients on current standard of care with no significant safety signals.”
The May 11, 2022 press release further stated that the FDA had “agreed that the current safety data available for sabizabulin is sufficient to support the safety portion of a request for EUA submission,” and that “additional safety data that would be collected during the use of sabizabulin under the EUA, if granted, will be sufficient to support an NDA submission, and furthermore, that no additional safety clinical studies are required.” Veru’s stock price rose from its closing price of $7.79 per share on May 10, 2022, the day of the pre-EUA meeting with the FDA to close at $13 per share on May 13, 2022 the day after Veru filed its 2022 Second Quarter 10-Q in which it reported on the results of its pre-EUA meeting with the FDA.
On June 7, 2022, Veru submitted an EUA request with the FDA for use of sabizabulin to treat COVID-19.
On September 7, 2022, the FDA scheduled an October 6, 2022 meeting of the Pulmonary-Allergy Drugs Advisory Committee (“AdCom”) to vote on whether sabizabulin should be granted EUA. Although AdCom recommendations are not binding, the FDA ordinarily follows them.
On September 19, 2022, it was announced that the FDA had postponed the AdCom meeting to November 9, 2022.
On August 11, 2022, Veru filed its Quarterly Report for the second quarter of 2022 on Form 10-Q with the SEC, which stated that during the May 10, 2022 pre-EUA meeting, the FDA had “agreed that no additional efficacy studies were required to support an EUA application or a new drug application (NDA)” for sabizabulin, that “no additional safety data was required,” and that “[t]he FDA agreed that the request for the EUA is supported by efficacy and safety [data] from our positive Phase 3 COVID-19 study . . . and no additional clinical trials are required to support an NDA submission.”
On November 9, 2022, the AdCom voted against granting Veru’s EUA request by an 8-5 margin. One AdCom member who voted against approval explained that there was “no direct evidence to support [sabizabulin’s] antiviral activity.” Veru’s stock price plummeted on the news, falling from its closing price of $15.01 per share on November 8, 2022 to close at $6.97 per share on November 10, 2022, a 54% one-day drop, wiping out over $640 million in market capitalization.
As a result of Defendants’ wrongful acts and omissions, and the precipitous decline in the market value of the Company’s securities, Plaintiff and other Class Members have suffered significant losses and damages.
If you purchased or otherwise acquired Veru shares and suffered a loss, are a long-term stockholder, have information, would like to learn more about these claims, or have any questions concerning this announcement or your rights or interests with respect to these matters, please contact Brandon Walker or Melissa Fortunato by email at email@example.com, telephone at (212) 355-4648, or by filling out this contact form. There is no cost or obligation to you.
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