Monday, February 03, 2003

Annals of PR [Seattle Times]
A public-relations firm is dealing with a public-relations nightmare after unintentionally e-mailing journalists and others documents about one of its clients, Seattle-based Cell Therapeutics.

The mass e-mail from Shepardson Stern + Kaminsky on Wednesday revealed the candid views of Cell Therapeutics managers and outside analysts on the strengths and weaknesses of the biotechnology company. SS+K asserts that the message was sent out as the result of a computer virus.

The company's chief drug in development, Xyotax, an anti-cancer drug, "risks being over-hyped and overpromised," the report says. Additionally, it says, the clinical division of Cell Therapeutics, which tests drugs on humans, "has failed in the past and not yet addressed the root causes of that failure."

Hours after the report was dispatched, SS+K sent another e-mail warning recipients to delete the earlier one without opening it.

"An email sent from my mailbox earlier today contains a serious virus and should not be opened," said the message from SS+K employee Susan Pierson Brown.

SS+K is a New York-based company that describes itself as "a creatively driven strategic communications firm."...

An unnamed analyst cited in the SS+K report said, "My impression of the company � and it's widely held � is that CTI is very promotional. The spokespeople, especially the CEO, tend to over-promise and under-deliver with their clinical results."

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