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Why Agenus Stock Sank on Tuesday

What happened

Even on a generally downbeat day for the stock market, Agenus (NASDAQ: AGEN) was quite a downer on Tuesday. The biotech company's shares fell by just over 6% on the day because of a notable C-suite departure.

So what

Agenus announced in a tersely worded regulatory filing that chief legal and compliance officer Adam Krauss has served notice that he will be vacating his position, effective this Friday, July 30.

Image source: Getty Images.

The company did not provide a reason or reasons for his move. It also did not divulge any plans to find a replacement for the outgoing executive.

Krauss was not a longtime Agenus employee. According to his LinkedIn page, he began his tenure at the company last November. Prior to that, he served for over four years as chief legal counsel at two different units of healthcare device maker Medtronic. This followed a nearly 10-year stint in several top legal positions at Covidien, which was acquired by Medtronic in 2015.

Now what

The seemingly abrupt exit by a top legal executive threatens to dampen the company's good momentum Agenus was enjoying its stock performance and its growing reputation among investors. This began in mid-May, when the cancer drug developer signed a potentially $1.36 billion deal to license its antibody program AGEN1777 to pharmaceutical industry giant Bristol Myers Squibb.

While Krauss' departure isn't necessarily a deal-breaker for Agenus, its apparent suddenness is concerning, as is the company's tight-lipped disclosure on the matter. Hopefully it's not indicative of deeper issues at this promising company.

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Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Bristol Myers Squibb. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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