Cellular Biomedicine Group paid a promoter to pump its stock and hid deaths connected to a cancer treatment, shareholders claim in a federal class action.

Cellular Biomedicine, a Delaware corporation based in Palo Alto, develops stem cell and immune cell therapies for cancer and neurodegenerative diseases such as knee osteoarthritis, spinal muscular atrophy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, marketing its patented “homegrown” cell technology to China’s burgeoning health care market.

Lead plaintiff Francis Bonanno claims the company inflated its stock price through false and misleading financial statements that failed to disclose that it achieved its $500 million valuation using a paid stock promoter, and that its “Car-T” technology studies involved patient deaths.

Bonanno also sued CEO Wei Cao and CFO Tony Liu, alleging violations of the Securities Exchange Act’s “anti-touting” provision.

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