The investment fraud attorneys of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating potential legal remedies due to recommendations to investors to buy speculative pharmaceutical company stocks. One such company is Zafgen, Inc. (Zafgen) (Stock Symbol: ZFGN). The stock was trading in the mid $40s just last September but now has plunged to under $6 a share, a staggering loss of shareholder value.
According to Bloomberg, Zafgen announced that its trial of an experimental drug to fight obesity was placed on hold by regulators after a second patient died taking the drug. The trial involves patients with a rare genetic disease called Prader-Willi syndrome that causes overeating. The trial was being studied to for the purposes of having the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approve the drug for those patients. Zafgen had finished one part of the trial that compared the drug to a placebo and then continued to a study where all patients took the drug. However, the FDA has now ordered a complete clinical hold on studies. The news sent the company’s shares down 61% when announced.
Before recommending investments in pharmaceutical related investments, brokers and advisors must ensure that the investment is appropriate for the investor and conduct due diligence on the company in order to understand the risks and prospects of the company. Pharmaceutical companies are notoriously risky investments. While investments in big name pharmaceuticals with diversified portfolios of established drugs and products offer greater stability some brokers recommend small bio-technology companies that have only one or two unproven drugs in clinical trials or development. The entire value of the company’s stock for these companies are often tied to the perceived success or failure of the drug. Even slightly downbeat news can send such stocks into a tailspin. However, brokers who recommend risky pharmaceutical companies are obligated to understand the risks of these investments and convey them to clients.