Athira Pharma, Inc.

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Portnoy Law Firm
Lesley F. Portnoy, Esq.,
Office: 310.692.8883
1800 Century Park East, Suite 600
Los Angeles, CA 90067

It is alleged in this lawsuit that, throughout the Class Period, Athira made misleading and false statements and failed to disclose that: (1) the research conducted by defendant Leen Kawas, Athira Pharma’s President and CEO, which formed the foundation for Athira Pharma’s product candidates and intellectual property, was tainted by scientific misconduct committed by Kawas, including the manipulation of key data; and (2) Athira’s positive statements in regard to business, operations, and prospects were materially misleading and omitted material facts necessary to make the statements made not misleading, as a result.

Athira Pharma issued a press release on June 17, 2021, announcing that Athira Pharma’s Board of Directors had placed Kawas on temporary leave pending a review of actions which stemmed from doctoral research she conducted while at Washington State University. Later that day, an article published in STAT News revealed that the investigation of Kawas related to allegations that she altered images in four separate papers relating to her research on hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), a protein with the potential to treat Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders. This article noted that although Athira Pharma “has since moved on to a different molecule than the one Kawas was working on, it still aims to target HGF. And so Kawas’s doctoral work laid the biological groundwork that Athira continues to use in their approach to treating Alzheimer’s.” Athira Pharma’s stock price fell by nearly 39% on this news, damaging investors.