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Nasdaq, US Attorney Open Investigation into Sequenom

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Officials from Nasdaq and the Office of the US Attorney for the Southern District of California have separately contacted Sequenom to inquire about the firm's announcement last week regarding the firing of senior executives in the wake of an investigation into the mishandling of test data earlier this year.

"We intend to cooperate fully with Nasdaq and with the US Attorney," the San Diego-based firm said in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission last night. "We have met with representatives of the US Attorney and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in connection with their investigations."

Last week, Sequenom's board of directors announced the firing of President and CEO Harry Stylli and Senior VP of R&D Elizabeth Dragon, along with three other employees, following the completion of the firm's investigation into the mishandling of R&D test data and results on the firm's SEQureDx Down syndrome test. When the firm had initially announced the wrongdoing in April, its stock plummeted around 80 percent.

In addition to the firings, Sequenom CFO Paul Hawran and Steve Owings, vice president of commercial development for prenatal diagnostics, resigned from the company.

Sequenom said in the filing last night that members of its special committee and its independent counsel have met with enforcement staff from the SEC in connection with that entity's investigation.

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