US SEC files insider-trading case in InterMune

WASHINGTON Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:06pm EST

WASHINGTON Dec 23 (Reuters) - U.S. regulators on Thursday sued "unknown purchasers" of InterMune (ITMN.O) securities for suspicious activity ahead of a favorable drug announcement that sent the drugmaker's options soaring as much as 466 percent.

The Securities and Exchange Commission alleges that the unknown purchasers bought InterMune options ahead of the biotech's Dec. 17 announcement that a European Union drug regulator had recommended one of its drugs for approval.

On that day, InterMune's stock jumped about 144 percent to close at $34.89, the SEC said.

The unknown purchasers are in a position to realize total profits of about $912,000, the SEC said.

The unknown purchasers have not yet been identified because their orders originated through foreign brokerage firms, which cleared the option trades through domestic brokerages. Those firms executed the orders through the Chicago Board Options Exchange and the Philadelphia Stock Exchange.

On Thursday, InterMune's stock rose 2 percent to $37.05. (Reporting by Rachelle Younglai; Editing by Gary Hill)

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