Former Immunomedics CFO pleads guilty to insider trading

By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) - The former chief financial officer of a New Jersey biotechnology company pleaded guilty on Wednesday to insider trading, after prosecutors said he had given nonpublic information about a new breast cancer drug to his girlfriend at the time.

Usama Malik, 48, former CFO of Immunomedics Inc, now owned by Gilead Sciences Inc, admitted to a single charge of securities fraud at a hearing before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez in Newark, New Jersey.

Two other charges are being dismissed. Malik faces up to 20 years in prison and a $5 million fine, but according to his plea agreement could get a 10- to 16-month prison term under recommended federal sentencing guidelines.

Prosecutors have said Malik told the girlfriend Lauren Wood before an April 6, 2020, public announcement that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would let Immunomedics halt its trial for the breast cancer treatment Trodelvy because the drug had proven effective.

Wood, a former Immunomedics communications chief who had by then left the company but was living with Malik, bought 7,000 Immunomedics shares following the tip and sold them three months later for a $213,618 profit, prosecutors have said.

Gilead bought Immunomedics for $20.6 billion in October 2020.

Mike Martinez, a lawyer for Malik, declined to comment.

Malik's sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 18. Wood pleaded guilty last June to securities fraud, and faces a scheduled Dec. 18 sentencing.

After leaving Immunomedics, Malik became chief executive of privately held Fore Biotherapeutics. He lost that job when he was originally charged in December 2021.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by David Gregorio)