Friday, May 04, 2007

Genentech/Tanox whistleblower: "If the FTC would talk to the right people this place would blow up."

It is pretty much unbelievable the number of whistleblower stories I'm getting this week.

Problem is, people want to stay anonymous, and they often don't have any documents or any other way of verifying their stories. So then I can't write about them.

I had such a story a few days ago.

This one was a whistleblower from the biotechnology company Tanox. Tanox is about to be acquired by Genentech in a $919 million deal.

The whistleblower wrote the following e-mail to me:

So legal group hired by our company, Tanox, is here today to collect documents that FTC wants as part of 2nd request for information in connection with our acquisition by Genentech. Yesterday, however, NAME REDACTED had all of xxx office emptied and a moving truck full of files taken away. Hxx office is set up as a stark, empty work room today (with a personal assistant out front - haha). Did I mention xxx has previously perjured xxxxxx on the witness stand and was caught? I guess if it is not here it cannot be discovered. Does the FTC have an anonymous tip line? This just disgusts me.

So I asked for some proof and some more info on the alleged perjury issue. This was the response:

The perjury is history a few years back. That is why xxx REDACTED. Ironically it was in a case against Genentech. More later. If the FTC would talk to the right people this place would blow up.

So I asked if it couldn't simply be that this person was getting ready to leave the company, considering the take-over deal. The Tanox whistleblower responded with some details I can't use, because it would identify the person he described.

His final mail said:

I could kick myself for not taking a picture at the loading dock yesterday. Was quite comical seeing the men wheeling things out yesterday. Everyone saw what was going on just not sure everyone understands why... Will try to get something.

But without any documents or proof, or pictures of the moving van or the "empty office" I couldn't really do anything with this story, much less claim that Tanox "would blow up."

I had nothing to back up any of this. Not even a whiff of a problem with the FTC. That is, until today. It turns out something unusual is going on in the Genentech deal and FTC's investigation of Tanox.

Here's the news from Yahoo (thanks Ed for getting me this):

Tanox sees Genentech deal close later than planned

NEW YORK, May 4 (Reuters) - Biotechnology company Tanox Inc. (TNOX.O: Quote, Profile , Research) said on Friday that it expected its proposed $919 million sale to Genentech Inc. (DNA.N: Quote, Profile , Research) to close in the third quarter, later than planned.

Tanox said in a filing with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission that the two companies were continuing to work with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in its review of the proposed acquisition, which Tanox stockholders approved on Jan. 15.

So if the Genentech/Tanox deal blows up, you got the first whiff of it here. Then again, there may be nothing to any of this and everyone will live happily ever after.

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