Ex-Pharma Communications Director Pleads Guilty To Insider Trading

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Gilead Sciences Inc pharmaceutical company is seen during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in California
Gilead Sciences Inc pharmaceutical company is seen after they announced a Phase 3 Trial of the investigational antiviral drug Remdesivir in patients with severe coronavirus disease (COVID-19), during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Oceanside, California, U.

The former head of corporate communications for New Jersey-based biotech company Immunomedics pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to an insider trading scheme that involved a breast cancer drug, which had proven effective in pre-market clinical trials.

Lauren S. Wood, 33, of Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud in Newark, Jersey. Wood, who is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 21, faces up to 20 years in prison and a $5 million fine.

Federal authorities allege former Immunomedics chief financial officer Usama Malik shared nonpublic information about the drug with Wood, who reportedly was his girlfriend at the time. Wood then used this information to make a $213,618 profit from stock sales after the information went public.

Immunomedics was acquired by California-based Gilead Sciences on Oct. 23, 2020, for approximately $21 billion.

The breast cancer drug is “an antibody-based drug designed to treat certain breast cancer patients with very limited treatment options beyond chemotherapy." It was publicly announced on April 6, 2020.

Malik, 47, faces charges of insider trading, securities fraud, and securities fraud conspiracy. He was living with Wood at the time that he allegedly shared information with her, according to authorities.

According to his LinkedIn account, Malik served as CFO of Immunomedics from August 2018 to December 2020. Malik's account notes that he "grew up between Nigeria and Pakistan with his family and moved to the U.S. at the age of 15."

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