United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
CARYL HULL LEAVITT, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
ALNYLAM PHARMACEUTICALS, INC., JOHN M. MARAGANORE and MANMEET S. SONI, Defendants. TUNC TOKER, FREDERICK EDWARDS and CHARLES IAPPINI, Movants.
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
Nathaniel M. Gorton United States District Judge
putative securities fraud class action is brought by Caryl
Hull Leavitt (“Leavitt”) on behalf of herself and
other similarly situated investors against Alnylam
Pharmaceuticals, Inc., its Chief Executive Officer and its
Chief Financial Officer (collectively “Alnylam”,
“the Company” or “defendants”).
Leavitt alleges that defendants made false and/or misleading
statements regarding the efficacy and marketability of its
therapeutic injection for the treatment of hereditary ATTR
amyloidosis during the class period.
bring this putative class action pursuant to the Private
Securities Litigation Reform Act (“the PSLRA”),
15 U.S.C. § 78u-4. That statute establishes a specific
procedure for the appointment and approval of lead plaintiff
and lead counsel in a private securities class action. See
§ 78u-4(a)(3). Pending before this Court are the
competing motions of Leavitt, Tunc Toker
(“Toker”), Frederick Edwards
(“Edwards”) and Charles Iappini
(“Iappini”) to be appointed as lead plaintiff and
to have their respective counsel approved as lead counsel.
For the following reasons, Toker will be appointed as lead
plaintiff and his selected lead counsel and liaison counsel
will be approved.
is a biopharmaceutical company incorporated in Delaware with
its principal place of business in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The Company develops and commercializes treatments for
hereditary ATTR amyloidosis which is a gene mutation that
causes the build-up of certain proteins in the body’s
nerves and organs. That build-up can harm the functioning of
nerves and organs. The Company developed its therapeutics
based on RNA interference (“RNAi”) which inhibits
the formation of those disease-causing proteins. In December,
2017, Alnylam submitted to the FDA a new drug application and
a marketing authorization application for Onpattro
(patisiran) which is administered by intravenous injection.
stock trades on the NASDAQ Stock Market. The Complaint
alleges that between February 15, 2018, and September 12,
2018 (“the Class Period”), defendants made false
and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that:
1) “Alnylam overstated the efficacy and safety of its
Onpattro (patisiran) lipid complex injection” and 2)
“as a result, Alnylam’s public statements were
materially false and misleading at all relevant times”.
August, 2018, Onpattro was approved by the FDA. On September
12, 2018, an analyst from an institutional broker,
Nomura/Instinet, reported that a document released by the
FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research revealed
a greater risk with respect to certain trials of Onpattro and
a more limited market opportunity for the drug than
previously contemplated. Specifically, the analyst indicated
that the document showed the FDA’s concerns over
cardiac deaths in patients treated with Onpattro and
suggested that the drug be limited to the treatment of
patients with polyneuropathy. Finally, the analyst stated
that some comments in the document call into question the
accuracy of certain claims made by Alnylam.
that report was published, Alnylam’s stock price fell
by over 5%, from $100.35 to $94.75 per share. The Complaint
alleges that as a result of that decline in market value,
investors who purchased Alnylam stock during the Class Period
in reliance on defendants’ false and/or misleading
statements suffered significant losses.
September, 2018, Leavitt filed this Complaint in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Shortly thereafter, notice of this putative securities fraud
class action was published pursuant to the PSLRA on
GlobeNewswire, a global business-oriented press release
distribution service with substantial operations in North
America. 15 U.S.C. § 78u-4(a)(3)(A)(i). In late
November, 2018, the case was transferred to this Court. A few
days later, putative class members Toker, Leavitt, Edwards
and Iappini filed their respective motions to be appointed
lead plaintiff pursuant to the PSLRA. Id.
December, 2018, Toker and Edwards filed oppositions to the
motions of the other putative class members. Iappini filed a
notice in support of Toker as presumptively the most adequate
plaintiff under the PSLRA and in opposition to
Edwards’s motion for appointment as lead plaintiff.
Leavitt filed no opposition to the motions of the other
putative class members, thereby ostensibly conceding that she
is not presumptively the most adequate plaintiff under the
PSLRA. The Court therefore analyzes only whether Toker or
Edwards should be appointed as lead plaintiff in this matter.
Motion to Appoint Lead Plaintiff Under the PSLRA
the PSLRA, the Court must appoint as lead plaintiff the
purported class member or class members that it determines
“to be most capable of adequately representing the