PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 5, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hemispherx Biopharma, Inc. (AMEX:HEB) today announced that its position with respect to alleged illegal manipulation of its stock by foreign business entities for purposes of bringing about a hostile takeover of the Company has been upheld by the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals.
On December 29, 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals overturned a lower court's dismissal of Hemispherx Biopharma Inc.'s fraud claims against a group of South African defendants related to misrepresentations made in an alleged hostile takeover attempt. "Hemispherx had recently reached a settlement with two of the South African defendants, Bioclones and its former CEO, Cyril Donninger," said Thomas Equels, attorney for Hemispherx in the case. "However, the appeal court ruling allows Hemispherx to pursue its damage claims against the remaining South African defendants."
The dismissal was based upon an argument by the South African defendants that the Federal Arbitration Act precluded the lawsuit against them for common law fraud. The appeals court found that the Federal Arbitration Act did not apply. Philadelphia-based biopharmaceutical firm Hemispherx, maker of the experimental drug Ampligen(r), filed its lawsuit in 2004 based upon allegations that the South African defendants, led by R. B. Kebble, then CEO of JCI, a large South African public company, catapulted merger talks with Hemispherx in 2002 into a full-blown attempt at a hostile takeover.
Tom Equels said that JCI chairman Kebble "was trying to add Hemispherx to the list of public companies already pillaged by Kebble and his associates. Kebble was later found responsible for the largest securities fraud in South African history, causing losses to his shareholders in the hundreds of millions. Kebble had expanded his reach into U.S. markets and he had Hemispherx in his gunsite. Had Kebble been able to effect his attempted takeover of Hemispherx, the impact on its shareholders would have been devastating."
After Kebble's series of securities frauds and looting of public companies was discovered in late 2004, a criminal indictment for these acts was issued against Kebble by the South African government. However, Kebble was killed, gangland style, in 2005.
The reinstatement of the common law fraud claim allows Hemispherx to continue to pursue damages in the case against the remaining South African defendants, including JCI and the estate of R. B. Kebble.
About Hemispherx Biopharma
Hemispherx Biopharma, Inc. is a specialty pharma company engaged in the manufacture and clinical development of new drug entities for treatment of seriously debilitating disorders. Hemispherx's flagship products include Alferon N Injection(r) (FDA approved for a category of sexually transmitted diseases) and the experimental therapeutics, Ampligen(r) and Oragens. Ampligen(r) and Oragens represent experimental RNA nucleic acids being developed for globally important debilitating diseases and disorders of the immune system. Hemispherx's platform technology includes large and small agent components for potential treatment of various severely debilitating and life threatening diseases. Hemispherx has in excess of 50 issued patents comprising its core intellectual property estate and a fully commercialized product (Alferon N Injection(r)). The Company wholly owns and exclusively operates a GMP certified manufacturing facility in the United States for commercial products. For more information please visit www.hemispherx.net.
Information contained in this news release other than historical information, should be considered forward-looking and is subject to various risk factors and uncertainties. For instance, the strategies and operations of Hemispherx involve risk of competition, changing market conditions, change in laws and regulations affecting these industries and numerous other factors discussed in this release and in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Any specifically referenced investigational drugs and associated technologies of the Company (including Ampligen(r), Alferon LDO and Oragens) are experimental in nature and as such are not designated safe and effective by a regulatory authority for general use and are legally available only through clinical trials with the referenced disorders. The forward-looking statements represent the Company's judgment as of the date of this release. The Company disclaims, however, any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements. Clinical trials for other potential indications of the approved biologic Alferon N Injection(r) do not imply that the product will ever be specifically approved commercially for these other treatment indications; similarly, the completion of the NDA filing process with Ampligen(r) does not imply that the product will ever be approved commercially.
Hemispherx Biopharma, Inc. Investor Contact: Dianne Will 518-398-6222 CCG Investor Relations Sean Collins, Sr. Partner 310-477-9800