The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed suit against Michael J. Fefferman, a Senior Director of Information Technology for Ardea Biosciences, Inc. (Ardea). The SEC alleged that Mr. Fefferman leaked non-public information regarding pharmaceutical trials to his brother-in-law, Chad Wiegand, who passed the inside tip to another stockbroker. Between April 2009 and April 2012, Mr. Fefferman allegedly tipped Mr. Wiegand about four separate announcements beforehand that were likely to have a positive impact on Ardea stock prices. The SEC alleged that the Defendants received $550,000 in illegal profits from this insider trading scheme.
The first announcement concerned a global agreement with Bayer Healthcare, LLC related to the licensing of an Ardea developmental cancer treatment. The second announcement related to the initial testing of a promising drug for the treatment of gout. The third announcement provided positive news about the second phase of testing for the experimental gout treatment. Finally, the fourth announcement published news of the sale of Ardea to AstraZeneca. The price of Ardea stock increased with each announcement and the Defendants allegedly profited illegally from trading of Ardea stock with the non-public information. Continue reading →