| June 7
June 7 A former executive of InterMune Inc
has agreed to pay $616,000 to settle claims by the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission that he illegally tipped a
friend in 2010 of the status of a regulatory review for its drug
The SEC said Friday it had reached a settlement with former
InterMune controller Bruce Tomlinson, a day after it sued him
for telling former business associate Michael Sarkesian that a
European regulatory review for the drug was moving faster and
better than expected.
Sarkesian went on to buy 400 InterMune call options ahead of
the announcement, making $616,000 in profits, the lawsuit said.
The SEC said as a result of his tip Tomlinson had violated U.S.
The SEC had previously reached a settlement with Sarkesian
for insider trading violations in March 2012. He agreed to
disgorge $616,000 in profits earned on the trade and pay more
than $93,800 in civil penalties.
Charles Walker, a lawyer for Tomlinson at Skadden, Arps,
Slate, Meagher & Flom, did not immediately respond to requests
for comment Friday.
A spokesman for InterMune declined comment. Tomlinson, 53,
left InterMune to become the chief financial officer of PDL
BioPharma, Inc. He resigned from that company in
The SEC originally filed the case in December 2010, against
one or more unknown purchasers of InterMune stock. It amended
the complaint in March 2012 to name Sarkesian. The case is in
federal court in New York.
The SEC has pursued a number of these types of cases seeking
to freeze assets after detecting suspicious trading, such as a
lawsuit filed in February over trades in the stock of H.J. Heinz
Scott Friestad, associate director of the SEC's enforcement
division, called the cases "some of the most challenging" the
agency pursues. While the SEC doesn't win all of them, he said,
it has "achieved excellent results overall."
"We feel InterMune is a good example of that," he said.
Suspiciously timed 2010 trades in InterMune are also at the
center of an investigation into Steven A. Cohen's SAC Capital
Advisors. It was not clear if the cases were
The complaint against Tomlinson, filed in U.S. District
Court in San Francisco, centers on InterMune's application for
European regulatory approval of Esbriet, a drug for idiopathic
During the review, InterMune had as late as October 2010
told investors it anticipated a decision by a subcommittee that
vets applications for human use of particular drugs in the first
half of 2011.
As a result of Tomlinson's involvement in strategic planning
at InterMune, the SEC said he became aware the review was going
better and quicker than anticipated.
Over two days in November 2010, the SEC said Tomlinson
emailed material non-public information to Sarkesian, a Swiss
citizen, about the progress of the review and how it would
affect InterMune's strategic planning.
In early December 2010, Sarkesian directed a broker-dealer
to purchase InterMune call options for Quorne Ltd, a British
Virgin Islands limited liability company owned by a Cyprus trust
maintained to benefit his wife, the SEC said.
A lawyer for Sarkesian did not respond to a request for
The case is SEC v. Tomlinson, U.S. District Court, Northern
District of California, No. 13-2549.