The 12 person jury in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas case titled Hemispherx Biopharma, Inc. v. Asensio & Company, Inc. and Manuel P. Asensio voted 11 to 1 that Asensio & Company, Inc. did not defame Hemispherx Biopharma, Inc. (“Hemispherx”) (AMEX: HEB Price: $3.95) by issuing the following fact (not opinion) statements: that Ampligen is “toxic”; that Ampligen has “no medical or economic value”; that Ampligen “is medically useless and an obsolete drug”; that Ampligen is “off patent”; that Hemispherx has made “fraudulent misrepresentations about Ampligen’s FDA filing status and CFS earnings claims”; that Hemispherx’s Phase II clinical trial of Ampligen for use as a possible treatment for CFS was “neither placebo-controlled nor double-blind” and “failed”; that there is “no legitimate medical or business purpose for [Hemispherx’s] continuing attempts to test Ampligen for treatment of CFS and other diseases”; and that Hemispherx “is not and has never been engaged in any long-term project to create a new drug”.
The jury also found that Asensio & Company, Inc.’s fact statements that Hemispherx has “purposefully cultivated” false claims regarding Ampligen “in order to defraud investors”; that Hemispherx “is promoting futile projects simply in order to enable insiders to sell their otherwise worthless stock to the public”; that Hemispherx “insiders have been constant sellers since the IPO”; that CFS “is not a disease” and there is “no reason for Hemispherx continuing promotion of CFS and Ampligen except to defraud investors”; that Hemispherx is engaged in “fraudulent stock rigging activities and the systematic dissemination of material fraudulent information, including the dissemination of absurd and misleading patent information”; that Hemispherx’s Third Quarter 1998 Form 10-Q reveals an “insider ‘pump and dump’ operation…. Hemispherx insiders realized between $14,132,888 and $12,026,311 in profit in the third quarter from Hemispherx’s stock promotion”; and that Hemispherx’s stock promotion is “perhaps the most blatant fraud that exists in [the] U.S. securities market today” were not defamatory.
The jury was also asked to find if Asensio & Company, Inc.’s statement that Hemispherx was “one of America’s most offensive, deliberate and visible stock frauds” was defamatory if published as a fact statement. The jury agreed that the statement was not defamatory.
Asensio & Company, Inc. is actively engaged in short selling and advises its clients on securities it believes are overvalued. A complete documented history of Asensio’s published work with short-selling transactions, and the firm’s definition of gross overvaluation, is available on the Internet at www.asensio.com. Short selling involves a risk not associated with the purchase of stock including, but not limited to, unlimited loss and stock borrowing risks.