SEC probes Dendreon amid shareholder lawsuits

Dendreon ($DNDN) is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. As Dow Jones reports, the company disclosed the SEC probe in its quarterly filing, along with information about shareholder lawsuits that accuse the company of misleading investors about its prostate cancer therapy Provenge.

The lawsuits, now consolidated in federal court in Washington, claim that Dendreon and some executives and former executives made false or misleading public statements about the Provenge launch. Some allege that officials misappropriated company information and engaged in insider trading, the news service reports.

In the SEC filing, Dow Jones says, Dendreon says the lawsuits are without merit and that it intends to fight them. The SEC wouldn't comment.

The much-anticipated Provenge was approved by the FDA in April 2010. Early uptake of the drug proceeded slowly, but the company reminded investors that production limitations--and the drug's personalized nature--put natural limitations on the launch. As production expanded and more doctors gained familiarity with the drug, that was expected to change.

As Dow Jones reports, Dendreon revealed in August last year that doctors' adoption of the drug had slowed because of reimbursement issues. The company slashed its revenue forecast and the stock plummeted. Since then, the company has hired a new CEO, and it says Provenge is gaining.

- read the Dow Jones story