OTC Flags Awakn Life Sciences for Stock Promotion

The OTC asked the company to clarify if it had engaged in "pump-and-dump" schemes.

Awakn Life Sciences Corp. (NEO: AWKN) (OTCQB: AWKNF) was asked by the OTC Markets group to issue an explanation behind the timing of Feb. 6 promotional emails and its stock price doubling at one point Thursday.

The OTC further requested that the company to clarify whether it has participated in what is commonly known as a “pump-and-dump” scheme, where false or misleading information is proliferated to create a buying fever that would “pump” up the price of a stock before moving to “dump” stock shares via selling their own shares at an inflated price.

“The company has not,” Awakn wrote in a Feb. 9 statement.

According to Awakn, an inquiry by management proved that “none of the company’s executive officers, directors or, to the knowledge of the company, any controlling shareholders or third party service providers, sold or purchased shares of common stock of the company within the past 90 days.”

Awakn said that it has simply continued work under an investor communications and digital marketing agreement with JRZ Capital LLC, which was disclosed in an Oct. 8, 2021, press release. JRZ Capital LLC was paid $50,000 in January this year to help send promotional emails for Awakn until the end of March.

On Monday, “OTC Markets informed the Company that it became aware of certain promotional activities concerning the Company and its common stock traded on the OTCQB Marketplace, specifically the distribution of promotional emails by third-parties, SmallCapFirm, StockWireNews, and Stock Street Wire discussing the float as well as potential catalysts of the company and summaries of recent press releases,” Awakn wrote in a Feb. 9 statement.

“The company was not involved in the creation of the materials, however has subsequently reviewed the specific details related to the company, and has confirmed these to be factual,” the company continued.

Awakn said that it is aware that the promotional activity “coincided with increased trading activity in the company’s common shares beginning on Feb. 6, 2023.”

However, the company said it didn’t believe the promotional activities were the only reason for the hike in trade volume this week, but rather attributed the increase to “currently heightened investor interest as a result of its recent press releases which disclosed that it had received ILAP approval in the U.K. as well as the initiation of an investigative study of a novel formulation of (S)-ketamine.”

Over the past year, Awakn has been contracting JRZ Capital, Geelon & Co, Just Capital Consulting, KCSA Strategic Communications, and Street Smart to aid in public relations and marketing efforts.

Adam Jackson

Adam Jackson writes about the cannabis industry for the Green Market Report. He previously covered the Missouri Statehouse for the Columbia Missourian and has written for the Missouri Independent. He most recently covered retail, restaurants and other consumer companies for Bloomberg Business News. You can find him on Twitter at @adam_sjackson and email him at adam.jackson@crain.com.

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