SEATTLE, Nov. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Omeros Corporation (NASDAQ: OMER) today is addressing misleading statements in a press release issued yesterday by Davis Wright Tremaine, the law firm representing Richard J. Klein, Omeros' former chief financial officer with whom Omeros recently settled a lawsuit regarding his employment with Omeros. Omeros' reasoned decision to enter into the settlement agreement and focus on its business is explained in its Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 1, 2012. The settlement involved the release of all parties' claims, including Mr. Klein's claim to all Davis Wright Tremaine fees incurred since 2009. Omeros' insurance carrier has agreed to advance payment of the settlement funds subject to a reservation of rights.
Mr. Klein's employment with Omeros was terminated in January 2009. In September 2009, five days following Omeros' public filing of its intent to market its initial public offering, Thomas A. Lemly, partner at Davis Wright Tremaine, filed Mr. Klein's initial complaint alleging wrongful termination in retaliation for his whistleblow in connection with a grant awarded to Omeros by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Omeros flatly denies that its termination of Mr. Klein's employment was retaliatory. Omeros believes that it had well-documented good cause to terminate Mr. Klein, including for his performance, as is detailed at length in the public record of this lawsuit. Further, the evidentiary ruling by U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour, cited in Davis Wright Tremaine's press release and issued well after the parties had commenced settlement negotiations, was a ruling on the admissibility of circumstantial evidence, which Omeros believed related only to claims that Judge Coughenour had previously dismissed, and not a finding of fact.
During Mr. Klein's employment with Omeros, he used Omeros' Whistleblower Policy procedures to report to the chairman of Omeros' audit committee that the Company had submitted reimbursement claims to the NIH in connection with the grant for work that Omeros had not performed. Omeros' audit committee, with independent outside counsel, thoroughly investigated Mr. Klein's allegations and the Company's NIH grant and claims procedures. The facts gathered by this investigation demonstrate that Omeros underbilled – not overbilled – the NIH in connection with the grant. In May 2009, Omeros voluntarily reported to the NIH's Office of Compliance the Company's handling of Mr. Klein's whistleblow allegation and the nature of its research under the grant.Mr. Klein subsequently presented his claims to the U.S. government, which declined to intervene in his case following its investigation of those claims. The written evidence shows that the NIH officials who reviewed Omeros' voluntary report acknowledged in 2009 that the Company had satisfactorily addressed the matter. An NIH scientist charged with managing the grant also testified that the research performed by Omeros represented a very valuable scientific advancement. In addition, the same NIH institute that awarded the grant that was the subject of Mr. Klein's allegations recently awarded Omeros a new grant in support of the Company's research.