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Major Shareholder Wants Inquiry Into Northwest Biotherapeutics Allegations

Northwest Biotherapeutics CEO Linda Powers denies financial irregularities between the biotech firm and entities related...

Neil Woodford, a U.K. fund manager well known for investing in the biotech industry, has sent a letter to the board of the Bethesda, Md.-based company to recommend it establish an independent special committee to investigate the claims. The letter was contained in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

He proposed the board appoint Elliott Leary, a former special agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who now conducts investigations for the global risk-management firm Freeh Group International Solutions LLC, as a nonexecutive director.

If appointed, Mr. Leary then would convene a special committee of nonexecutive directors to investigate the allegations, which were made largely by an equities research group, and which raise questions about what the research group says are the company’s financial dealings with vehicles related to Ms. Powers.

The Woodford letter, which was dated this past Tuesday, concluded: “In this way, we and other investors can then be satisfied that the company will have the benefit of a fully independent investigation.”

Ms. Powers in interviews on Friday and Saturday with The Wall Street Journal denied there have been any financial irregularities between Northwest and entities related to her. She termed the allegations as “baloney.” She said payments for services to such entities had been cleared by the Northwest board, independently audited and filed where...