Athira PharmaA growing number of law firms are investigating claims of securities fraud associated with Athira Pharma (NSDQ:ATHA), a clinical-stage biopharma focused on small molecules targeting neurodegeneration. Its lead therapeutic candidate, ATH-1017, targets dementia associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Law firms investigating potential securities fraud claims involving the company include the following:

  • Ademi (Milwaukee).
  • Block & Leviton (Boston).
  • Johnson Fistel (San Diego).
  • Portnoy (Los Angeles).
  • Wolf Popper (New York City).

The Bothell, Wash.–based company’s stock fell 39% on June 18 after announcing it was putting Leen Kawas, the firm’s CEO, on temporary leave.

Its share price had stabilized in mid-day trading, edging up 1% to $11.27. E

arlier this month, Jefferies predicted thath Athira shares would rise as much as 50% after FDA decided to approve the Alzheimer’s drug aducanumab from Biogen (NSDQ:BIIB).

An Athira Pharma spokesperson did not immediately reply to a request for comment regarding the securities fraud investigations.

The investigations stem from questions regarding published scientific papers that Kawas co-authored. Those researchers have posted several of those questions in the online forum PubPeer, which enables scientists to provide anonymous feedback on published research.

Several scientists, including Elisabeth Bik, a microbiologist known for detecting photo manipulation in scientific papers and Bik’s doctoral research at Washington State University, have identified potential issues in Bik’s research.

Financial analysts are uncertain whether Athira’s pipeline is associated with potentially problematic research at Washington State University.

Reviewing such questions in published scientific papers often requires accessing original laboratory results, which is difficult for experiments conducted in past years. For example, Kawas performed her doctoral research more than a decade ago.

Achira had planned to begin a Phase 2 study focusing on ATH-1017 by the end of the year.