Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News breaks a Cellzome/GlaxoSmithKline embargo

with 2 comments

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News accidentally broke an embargo earlier today on news of a deal between GlaxoSmithKline and a privately held drug discovery company called Cellzome.

Fierce Biotech picked up the item, reporting that Cellzome had “inked a second drug discovery pact with GlaxoSmithKline in the field of inflammatory disease. Under the terms of the agreement, Cellzome will receive about $44.79 million in upfront payments.” (Read more about the first deal from 2008 here.)

The news was embargoed until a minute after midnight GMT Wednesday, which is 7:01 p.m. Eastern Tuesday (today). Cellzome sent out a press release at about 4 p.m. GMT Monday, according to the InVivo Blog‘s Chris Morrison, who tipped me off to the break.

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News posted their piece — which was called a “press release” here — sometime before 2:30 Eastern, and took it down as soon as they realized the mistake, a staffer there tells me.

Cellzome did not threaten any sanctions against the publication, and the discussion was “amicable,” the staffer said.

Morrison called this “a drum-up-the-coverage PR embargo.” By email, he told me:

Its an interesting enough deal that wed probably have covered it w/o the embargo”. I guess they figured give the CEO time to talk to everyone so they get lots of coverage.

I have an email in to Cellzome, will update if I hear back.

This post was updated at 4:15 Eastern, after Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News confirmed the break.


Written by Ivan Oransky

March 9, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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2 Responses

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  1. I’m confused about the legality of embargoing financial news, especially news that involves publicly-traded companies. Aren’t those companies required to send out information of material interest to investors immediately? Wouldn’t the SEC have something to say about sending out such information under embargo, available to some outsiders but not others?

    Bob Finn

    March 10, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    • Excellent question, Bob, and I’m poking around it for a future post. I need to find an attorney who specializes in this stuff, so if you have any sources, greatly appreciated.


      March 11, 2010 at 10:42 am

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