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As Keryx, Aeterna Shares Surge, Investing Writer's Credibility Questioned

One of the disputes centers on claims made by Richards that he and his associates own large stock holdings in Keryx and Aeterna. Richards often cites those holdings in his Seeking Alpha articles as proof that perifosine is an effective cancer therapy.

Private Wealth Fund isn't a shareholder of Aeterna or Keryx, according to Bloomberg data that compiles such information on publicly traded companies. In fact, Private Wealth Fund doesn't show up at all as a stock fund, according to Bloomberg. It's not known if Richards owns stock in the companies through a personal account.

Aeterna has no information on Private Wealth Fund as an investor in the company and its executives don't know Richards, according to Aeterna spokesman Paul Burroughs.

Keryx didn't respond to questions about Richards or Private Wealth Fund.

In the March 2 article, Richards says his biotech consultant, "Dr. Williams" -- no first name or affiliation are disclosed -- owns 1.2 million shares of Aeterna.

"We value his opinion immensely and his track record is impeccable," Richards writes of Williams.

Williams doesn't show up as an Aeterna investor, according to Bloomberg. Any holder of 1.2 million shares of Aeterna today would be its second-largest shareholder, right behind RCM Capital Management's 1.4 million Aeterna shares, Bloomberg data show.

Richards, in his March 2 article, claims that another of his consultants, "well-respected" surgical oncologist Dr. Fred Wurlitzer, owns about 1 million shares of Aeterna because "he firmly believes in the success of perifosine."

Wurlitzer doesn't show up as an Aeterna shareholder, per Bloomberg.

"Whether Williams or Wurlitzer own Aeterna shares or not is not for us to comment on. We wouldn't know them unless they were 5% holders and they aren't," Aeterna's Burroughs says.

As further support for his articles touting the cancer drug perifosine, Richards claims that Williams owns 800,000 shares of Keryx. If true, the stake would make him the 13th-biggest investor in the company.

When asked for confirmation by Seeking Alpha, Richards said neither Williams nor Wurlitzer own more than 5% of Aeterna or Keryx, which explains why they're not listed as shareholders lists compiled by Bloomberg or Thomson Reuters, Moriarty said.

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