Securities and Exchange Commission charge 2 Ariad Pharma employees with insider trading

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The Securities and Exchange Commission charged two former senior employees  of Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Inc. with insider trading aheadof announcements about U.S. Food and Drug Administration decisions involving main cancer drug. According to the SEC’s complaint, Harold Altvater, whose wife was an Ariad employee, allegedly made multiple illegal trades in Ariad stock on the basis of non-public information he learned from her. Maureen Curran, a former Ariad executive, sold Ariad stock in December 2012, after she had attended meetings with the FDA and had learned material nonpublic information regarding a forthcoming FDA decision. Susan Dubuc, another former executive, allegedly tipped relatives in October 2013, one day before Ariad publicly announced a pause in all clinical trials for its FDA-approved drug.

The SEC accused Dubuc of tipping off her relatives in 2013 that Ariad would halt trials of the drug, allowing them to avoid nearly $2,888 in losses. Altvater, for his part, earned more than $100,000 in profits and avoided losses by trading in advance of news about Ariad’s dealings with the FDA, the SEC alleged. According to the SEC, Altvater concealed his activities from his wife, who had told him on at least one occasion not to trade Ariad stock.

Without admitting or denying wrongdoing, Curran and Dubuc have agreed to settle the allegations by paying fines of around $20,000 and $6,000, respectively, the SEC said. The case against Altvater is continuing.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers