SEC halts trading of Utah company’s stock after it touted a rapid COVID-19 test

Washington • The Securities and Exchange Commission this week suspended trading of a Salt Lake City company’s stock after it touted production of a rapid test for COVID-19, a move that comes as the regulatory agency continues to crack down on companies promoting unproven products relating to the coronavirus outbreak.

The firm, whose board includes former Sen. Orrin Hatch, had issued three press releases claiming it was going to be able to immediately distribute large quantities of a serology test to detect COVID-19 antibodies.

“This country is in high need of the Assurance AB testing for point of care use and we have brought all resources to bear to bring this product to the United States,” Robinson said in a news release April 8. “Wellgistics has provided us with state-by-state demand guidance, to ensure that regions with the most urgent need have first access to the test. Our main priorities will be to focus on servicing those areas.”

The SEC shut down the stock trading after questions about the accuracy of statements by the company, whose stock closed at 82 cents on Wednesday morning.

Neither Predictive Technology nor the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation responded to requests for comment on Friday.

Hindenburg Research had previously questioned Predictive Technology’s announcement, which noted that it was partnering with a Chinese manufacturer to make and distribute a rapid test for COVID-19. Hindenburg reported that the Chinese company was not an approved manufacturer of the test by the Chinese government and news reports by state-run outlets said that it had been selling them without medical or production licenses.

On Friday, Anderson said the SEC made the right move.

“People are looking for signs of hope in this pandemic and unfortunately there seem to be some people taking advantage of that,” Anderson said in an email to The Salt Lake Tribune. “We’ve seen dozens of stock scams that have emerged since the onset of this pandemic. The SEC has been very diligent in protecting the public and the markets from these suspected bad actors.”

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