Earlier this year, Rep. Chris Collins’ (R-NY) 16.8% stake in Innate Immunotherapeutics (ASX:IIL) was worth $45.5 million. But since the Australian biotech’s lead drug failed in a 93-patient trial this week, shares in the company dropped to 4¢ apiece and Collins’ holdings are now valued at just $1.5 million.
As the company’s largest investor and a board member, Collins has previously encouraged his congressional colleagues to back the company. Elected officials who have purchased stock based on Collins’ recommendation includes now Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who bought Innate shares in 2015 and 2016 while he was a member of the House.
Michael Hook, Collin’s chief of staff is one of Innate’s top 20 shareholders. Two of his children are also on that list.
Price reportedly liquidated his stake in Innate in February, according to Stat.
“For those that invested in Innate, including me, we all were sophisticated investors who were aware of the inherent risk,” Collins said in a statement this week. “For every successful drug, there are countless numbers that fail. That’s how today’s system works.”
“These results are a shock and definitely not what we were expecting based on our previous clinical experience with MIS416 and the reporting of treatment benefits we have received from many compassionate use patients over an extensive 8-year period. These data will be as distressing to them as they will be for all the stakeholders who were relying on the outcome of this study,” CEO Simon Wilkinson said in prepared remarks.