Biotech exec settles up on an insider trading case

Back in the spring of 2010, James Lieberman landed a hot biotech stock tip. Unfortunately for him, though, it allegedly came from his boss and concerned his own company--Array BioPharma.

A major licensing pact with Novartis ($NVS) was in the offing, according to an e-mail forwarded from his boss, the CFO at Array ($ARRY). "I heard from NVS and they are ready to move frwd (sic) to finalize our agreement," alerted the COO. "We should have their revised agreement Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. They would like to close this deal within 30 days."  The deal centered on ARRY-162, a top cancer prospect.

Within minutes Lieberman--then manager of environmental health and safety--was on the phone, snapping up 50,000 shares of Boulder, CO-based Array, according to documents filed by the SEC. He made a bit more than $71,000 on the buy, after the news of Novartis' $45 million upfront hit the news wire and drove up Array's shares. 

On Tuesday the SEC reportedly filed papers noting that Lieberman would settle up on the case, forking over more than twice as much as he profited. 

This is the second insider trading charge we've covered this month at FierceBiotech. Just a few weeks ago the FBI hauled Robert Ramnarine into federal court, charging the pension exec at Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) made more than $300,000 using his insider info on buyout talks with Pharmasset, ZymoGenetics and Amylin. 

A couple more of these stories and we'll have a trend on our hands.

- get the story from the Daily Camera
- here is the SEC complaint (PDF)