Ex-girlfriend of biotech CFO pleads guilty to insider trading

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By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) – A former corporate communications manager for a New Jersey biotech company admitted on Wednesday to illegal trading based on advice on a new breast cancer drug from the company’s chief financial officer, who was her boyfriend at the time.

Lauren Wood, 33, of Washington, DC, pleaded guilty to securities fraud before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez in Newark, New Jersey.

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Wood and Usama Malik, the former chief financial officer of Immunomedics Inc, now owned by Gilead Sciences Inc, were charged with the alleged scheme last December.

Prosecutors said Malik told Wood ahead of an April 6, 2020 public announcement that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would let Immunomedics halt its trial for breast cancer treatment Trodelvy because the drug was found to be effective. .

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Wood, who was living with Malik, although she had left the company, then bought 7,000 shares of Immunomedics, although the stock was downgraded by analysts at the time, and sold them three months later. for a profit of $213,618, prosecutors said.

She faces up to 20 years in prison when sentenced on November 21, but is likely to get significantly less. U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger of New Jersey announced the plea.

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Wood’s attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A lawyer for Malik declined to comment.

Malik pleaded not guilty on May 19 to insider trading, securities fraud and conspiracy. He is free on bail.

Gilead bought Immunomedics for $20.6 billion in October 2020.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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