When tiny Australian biotech firm Innate Immunotherapeutics needed to raise money last summer, it didn’t issue stock on the open market. Instead, it offered a sweetheart deal to “sophisticated U.S. investors,” company documents show.

It sold nearly $1 million in discounted shares to two American congressmen sitting on House committees with the potential power to advance the company’s interests, according to company records and congressional filings. They paid 18 cents a share for a stake in a company that was rapidly escalating in value, rising to more than 90 cents as the company promoted an aggressive plan to sell to a major pharmaceutical company. Analysts said the stock price could go to $2.

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  • fun facts

    I had a look at the Innate Immunotherapeutics website and associated science.

    – the board of directors doesn’t have any actual scientist in it
    – the CSO has a pretty much non existent publication record, other than a few articles associated with the “drug”
    – there is only one published paper on the effects of the “drug” in a mouse model of MS. A model that most likely has very little relevance with the actual MS disease
    – the “drug” is simply dead, lipid stripped, acne causing bacteria. So the “basic” science is pretty much using bacteria to dampen the autoimmune response against myelin. Not exactly novel cutting edge science, but a well known matter. In the very unlikely event, that the “drug” should actually show therapeutic effect, you can do it at your home. All you need is a teenager with acne! But probably any bacteria will do.

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