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AstraZeneca PLC

Case Details

Class Period: May 21, 2020 - November 20, 2020
Date Filed: January 26, 2021
Case Number: 1:21cv00722
Jurisdiction: New York Southern District Court
Days Left to
Seek Plaintiff:
28

Case Summary

The AstraZeneca class action lawsuit charges AstraZeneca and certain of its officers and directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. AstraZeneca is one of the largest biopharmaceutical companies in the world and was one of the early front-runners in the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. In April 2020, the Company partnered with Oxford University to develop a potential recombinant adenovirus vaccine for the virus, later dubbed AZD1222. The complaint alleges that defendants misrepresented facts regarding the Company’s ongoing AZD1222 clinical trials and concealed problems that had arisen in the trials, including a dosing error which had been discovered early on by the Company but not disclosed to investors. On November 23, 2020, AstraZeneca issued a release announcing the results of an interim analysis of its ongoing trial for AZD1222. The announcement immediately began to raise questions among analysts and industry experts. AstraZeneca disclosed that the interim analysis involved two smaller scale trials in disparate locales (the United Kingdom and Brazil) that, for unexplained reasons, employed two different dosing regimens. One clinical trial provided patients a half dose of AZD1222 followed by a full dose, while the other trial provided two full doses. Counterintuitively, AstraZeneca claimed that the half dosing regimen was substantially more effective at preventing COVID-19 at 90% efficacy than the full dosing regimen, which had achieved just 62% efficacy. In the days that followed, additional revelations were made regarding problems with AstraZeneca’s AZD1222 clinical trials. For example, the differing dosing regimens were revealed to be due to a manufacturing error rather than trial design. Also, the half-strength dose had not been tested in people over the age of 55 despite the fact that this population was the most vulnerable to COVID-19. Moreover, certain trial participants received their second dose later than originally planned. U.S. regulators stated that if AstraZeneca could not clearly explain the discrepancies in its trial results, the results would most likely not be sufficient for approval for commercial sale in the United States. As negative news reports continued to reveal previously undisclosed problems and flaws in AstraZeneca’s clinical trials for AZD1222, the price of AstraZeneca ADSs fell to $52.60 by market close on November 25, 2020, a 5% decline over three trading days in response to adverse news on abnormally high volume.

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Complaint