August 22, 2021

SEC charges California biopharm executive with insider trading

On August 17, 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced insider trading charges filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California against a former Medivation Inc. employee Matthew Panuwat for making improper securities purchases ahead of Medivation’s announcement in 2016 that it was being acquired by a larger pharmaceutical company.

According to the complaint, during the relevant time period Panuwat worked as a business development executive for California-based Medivation Inc., a mid-sized oncology-focused biopharmaceutical company, when he received confidential, nonpublic information related to the company’s impending purchase directly from Medivation’s chief executive officer.  Within minutes of obtaining this information, Panuwat used his work computer to purchase out-of-the-money, short-term stock options in Incyte Corporation, another mid-sized oncology-focused biopharma company, whose stock he thought might increase substantially once the Medivation acquisition was announced publicly.  After news of Medivation’s acquisition was publicized, Incyte’s stock price increased by roughly 8 percent causing the value of Panuwat’s stock options to almost double, enabling Panuwat to realize $107,066 in unlawful profits.

Panuwat is specifically charged with violating Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Exchange Act Rule 10b-5 thereunder.  In addition to the payment of a civil monetary penalty, the SEC requested that the court permanently enjoin Panuwat from serving as an officer or director any entity with certain securities registered with the SEC.

SEC Press Release | SEC Litigation Release | Complaint