July 1, 2009 / 3:44 PM / 10 years ago

Sequenom shares fall on SEC probe

BANGALORE, July 1 (Reuters) - Sequenom Inc SQNM.O shares fell as much as 6 percent Wednesday, a day after the company said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating its April 29 announcement that it would delay launching its prenatal Down Syndrome test due to mishandling of data by some employees.

Hapoalim Securities analyst Raghuram Selvaraju said that the SEC is currently limiting itself to the trading that occurred in Sequenom stock during the time the company made the announcement.

Shares of Sequenom sank 75 percent on April 30 after the company said none of the research and development data for its SEQureDx Down syndrome test could be relied upon, and it was delaying the launch of three other tests to review all test data.

The company said it intends to cooperate completely with the regulator’s investigation and its internal investigation related to the test data and results are ongoing.

“It’s the result of the internal investigation that is going to determine the future of the company, not the SEC,” analyst Selvaraju said, adding that an SEC investigation was expected.

Caris & Co cut its price target on the stock to $3 from $5 and said in addition to the SEC overhang, there is low probability of color or resolution with respect to the mishandled data anytime soon.

Shares of Sequenom were down 14 cents at $3.77 in morning trade on Nasdaq. It touched a low of $3.67 earlier in the session. (Editing by Ratul Ray Chaudhuri)

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