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by Mike Caswell
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has halted Vancouver's WPD Pharmaceuticals Inc., citing questions about a supposed COVID-19 drug candidate. The company had claimed that it was developing a compound that causes the virus behind COVID-19 to stop replicating. The SEC, however, has concerns about those claims and says that a halt is necessary for the protection of investors.
The halt, issued at the open on Monday, May 4, comes about six weeks after WPD started talking about the potential of a drug candidate called WP1122. Among other things, the company claimed that there had been a "breakthrough" with the drug and that "early implications are that it could have positive effects on reducing the spread of COVID-19." The company said that it expected to move "very quickly" through the regulatory processes, with the United States and European Union having accelerated approvals in place for COVID-19 drug candidates.
The SEC, however, says that there is at least some doubt about those claims. In Monday's brief halt notice, the regulator cites "questions regarding the accuracy and adequacy of information in the marketplace." Specifically, the SEC says that there are questions about the status of the development of WP1122, its effect on COVID-19 and the ability to expedite regulatory approvals.
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