A Republican congressman from New York lost approximately $17 million Tuesday when the stock value of an Australian biotech firm cratered, Politico reports. It's unclear how much money was lost by his fellow lawmakers, who he convinced to buy into the firm. Rep. Chris Collins is the largest shareholder and sits on the board of Innate Immunotherapeutics. On Tuesday, Innate stock dropped more than 90% after the firm announced its multiple sclerosis drug was a failure in clinical trials. According to CNBC, Innate stock hit a peak of $1.77 per share in January; it closed at 5 cents Tuesday. “For those that invested in Innate including me, we all were sophisticated investors who were aware of the inherent risk," Collins says.
Collins' actual, not-just-on-paper loss is the just over $5 million he invested in Innate about 15 years ago; he hadn't sold any of his Innate stock prior to Tuesday's crash, the Buffalo News reports. The other lawmakers Collins successfully convinced to buy Innate stock are Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma, Bill Long of Missouri, Mike Conway of Texas, and Doug Lamborn of Colorado. The Office of Congressional Ethics is investigating Collins for possible insider trading. He helped write legislation to speed up clinical trials that could have benefited Innate in theory. Collins, who says he's still "hopeful" Innate can develop a successful MS drug, was worth a reported $40 million prior to Tuesday's stock debacle. (Read more stocks stories.)