ASCO Site Is Source of Research Leaks
Updated from 1:17 p.m. EST
Just who is responsible for leaking research abstracts from the upcoming annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology? Genentech (DNA) plummeted more than 12% Thursday after Wall Street traders got hold of one of these abstracts, which raised safety issues with its experimental cancer drug, Avastin.
ASCO officials told Bloomberg News Thursday that the cancer research medical group is launching an investigation into the leaks. The research abstracts were not supposed to be released until Monday, April 15.
"I'm getting calls [from people] saying they have seen the abstracts but they won't provide a copy or tell me where they came from," Michelle Kirkwood, a spokeswoman for ASCO, told Bloomberg. "We are going the other route now, checking our servers and making sure our security hasn't been breached."Well, ASCO shouldn't really need to look very hard to find the culprit. The leaker is ASCO itself. Research abstracts for ASCO's May meeting -- filled with potentially market-moving information -- are easily obtained through a gaping hole in the medical group's Web site that has been open since Wednesday afternoon. The information is easily found with just one mouse click off ASCO's home page, as long as seekers have an ASCO membership password. And who has these valuable passwords? The thousands of registered ASCO members have them, and of course, so does just about every savvy institutional investor on Wall Street. TheStreet.com has obtained a password and has been able to search and download research abstracts at will, even on Friday after ASCO officials were alerted to the problem.
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