Former Immunomedics staffer pleads guilty in insider trading scheme after getting info from ex-CFO Usama Malik
Just over a month ago, Usama Malik was indicted for giving his girlfriend, among others, insider information that ended up with her making more than $200,000 in profit. Now, she has filed a guilty plea.
The plea, signed March 6, was filed yesterday in federal court before New Jersey District Judge John Michael Vazquez after Lauren Wood, Malik’s ex-girlfriend and a former Immunomedics employee, agreed to a plea deal.
DOJ had initially alleged last year that Malik, formerly the CFO at Immunomedics, gave information to his then-girlfriend and four others regarding a Phase III study halt of breast cancer drug Trodelvy, four days before Immunomedics publicly announced it would be stopping the trial early due to promising signs that it helped patients with triple negative breast cancer. Trodelvy later became the crown jewel of the nearly $21 billion Immunomedics buyout by Gilead several months after the alleged incident.
The five people bought a combined 9,000 shares in Immunomedics, holding and then selling after the stock price had almost doubled. Wood, who was no longer at Immunomedics when the trial was halted, had the largest stake, purchasing close to 7,000 shares and making over $200,000 in illegal profits.
According to the plea deal, Wood is pleading guilty to securities fraud/insider trading, which can carry a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and up to a $5 million fine. Her current sentencing date is Nov. 21. As part of the plea agreement, she will waive her right to an appeal, forfeit anything that was paid for by her illegal profits, and pay back her illegal earnings.
As for Malik, after he got paid a cool $27 million in the buyout, he was almost immediately fired from his last biotech role as CEO at Fore Biotherapeutics once he and Wood were arrested back in December. Fore was originally named NovellusDx when he joined in January 2021. He is currently out on bail, and just a few days after being indicted on three counts of insider trading, securities fraud and securities fraud conspiracy, he filed a not guilty plea last month.
An attorney affiliated with Wood did not immediately respond to a request for comment.