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Former Sequenom CEO Harry Stylli Seeks $1.6M in Damages from Firm

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Sequenom's former President and CEO Harry Stylli has made an arbitration demand with the company, seeking more than $1.6 million in damages.

The San Diego-based firm disclosed the action in its Form 10-Q filed on Thursday, concurrent with its announcement of a sharp increase in third quarter revenues. In its document filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Sequenom said that Stylli made the arbitration demand on Sept. 18, alleging the company fired him without cause and breached his employment agreement by failing to pay him severance benefits.

The $1.6 million in damages being sought by Stylli includes but is not limited to severance benefits, interests, and costs of arbitration. Sequenom said it plans to "vigorously" defend itself.

Stylli was among a group of Sequenom executives who either were fired or resigned in 2009 amid a scandal involving the mishandling of test data and results for the firm's Down syndrome test called SEQureDx, the precursor to the MaterniT21 Plus test.

The firings and resignations came after an investigation conducted by Sequenom's independent directors into the matter. When the housecleaning was announced, the company said, "While each of these officers and employees has denied wrongdoing, the special committee's investigation has raised serious concerns, resulting in a loss of confidence by the independent members of the company's board of directors in the personnel involved."

Stylli could not be reached for comment.