The smarmy Vivek Ramaswamy thinks he can grift his way to a Republican nomination by mimicking the same business tactics beloved of Trump:
And here’s a more detailed piece written by Jeffrey Sonnenfeld for Fortune:
Ramaswamy’s tax records show that the first time he ever made big money was when he hyped up an Alzheimer’s drug candidate, Axovant, which had been discarded by other pharmaceutical companies. Axovant, which was 78% owned by Ramaswamy’s corporate holding company Roivant, blew up after failing FDA tests, with the stock crashing from $200 to 40 cents, fleecing thousands of mom-and-pop investors who bought into the hype. Ramaswamy himself profited handsomely (even if the Ramaswamy campaign took a while to acknowledge the truth).
Ramaswamy spokesperson Tricia McLaughlin first told us that “the idea that Vivek made any money on [Axovant’s] failure is a total lie” before finally acknowledging that Ramaswamy did indeed cash out, claiming “[Ramaswamy] and other shareholders were forced to sell a tiny portion of their shares in 2015 to facilitate an outside investor entering Roivant.” The facts are that Ramaswamy’s own tax returns show he opportunely sold out of nearly $40 million of Roivant stock right as Axovant’s hype was peaking. Meanwhile, Roivant was raising $500 million driven largely by Axovant. As Ramaswamy was busy selling his own personal stake, Roivant gradually reduced and diluted its Axovant stake from 78% to just 25%.
Clearly, the facts show Ramaswamy’s words did not match his actions as he was busy cashing out while shamelessly hyping Axovant’s prospects in media interviews–almost resembling a classic pump-and-dump scheme. Some $40 million in personal windfalls is hardly “tiny.” Ramaswamy was not “forced to sell” as that was clearly a personal choice without anyone holding a gun to his head. Amazingly, Ramaswamy’s spokesperson further confirmed to us that Ramaswamy was aware that 99.7% of all drugs tested for Alzheimer’s fail even though he was relentlessly hyping Axovant’s chances of success with nary a mention of that inconvenient truth.