According to the Sirna Therapeutics, Inc.’s (formerly Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals, Inc.) SEC Form 10-Q for the quarterly period ended March 31, 2003, on November 7, 2002, the Company announced that an agreement had been reached with the plaintiffs to settle the stockholder class action lawsuit. By Order filed April 8, 2003, the Court approved the settlement, dismissed all claims in the action with prejudice, and directed that judgment be entered dismissing the case. The Company’s liability insurance covered the full amount of the settlement.
In the Summary Notice of Proposed Settlement, pursuant to an Order of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, a hearing will be held on March 17, 2003, at 9:00 a.m., before the Honorable Marcia S. Krieger, United States District Judge, United States Courthouse, 901 19th Street, Denver, Colorado, 80294, for the purpose of determining: (1) whether the proposed Settlement of the claims against Defendants in the above-captioned Litigation in return for the creation of a total settlement pool of $3 million should be approved by the Court as fair, reasonable and adequate pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; (2) whether, thereafter, all claims against all Defendants should be dismissed with prejudice; and (3) whether the proposed Plan of Allocation of the Settlement fund should be approved.
The original complaint alleges that defendants misled investors by issuing a false press release on November 15 headlined "Colorado Pharmaceutical Co. Makes Cancer Drug History," stating that Angiozyme, one of the Company's drugs in development, "has taken an important step forward... making both clinical history and industry news" and that a press conference will be held on November 17 at which the Company's "CEO and President, Ralph E. Christoffersen, Ph.D. ...will explain Angiozyme and its recent history-making leap, an achievement which may be of great significance to cancer patients everywhere." As a result, Ribozyme common stock increased from $10 5/8 to as high as $22 per share. Ultimately, investors discovered the Company had no "history-making progress" to report but was merely announcing that Angiozyme had entered Phase I/II testing -- a development the Company had twice previously indicated would occur before the end of 1999. Ribozyme shares then declined to close at $9-5/16 per share on November 17, 1999. The lawsuit seeks to recover damages suffered by Ribozyme investors as a result of defendants' improper conduct.