February 9, 2012 / 4:56 PM / 8 years ago

SEC charges insider trading in Takeda pharma deal

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. market regulators charged a former employee of Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd with making $63,000 in illegal profits on inside information about the company’s 2008 agreement to acquire Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc.

The former U.S.-based employee, Brent Bankosky, has partially settled the civil lawsuit by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, his lawyer said. The lawsuit was made public on Thursday.

In the complaint filed in federal court in New York, the SEC said Bankosky, 41, used the inside information to trade in his personal account. Bankosky bought call options in securities of Takeda’s strategic partner, biotechnology company Cell Genesys, and Millennium, the complaint said.

Through these trades, Bankosky reaped more than $63,000 in profits on an initial investment of $37,000, the SEC said. The company, which has its headquarters in Osaka, Japan, was not a defendant in the case. A spokeswoman for the company in Deerfield, Michigan, could not immediately be reached to comment.

Bankosky’s lawyer, Robert Heim, said his client partially settled the matter without admitting or denying the allegations. He has agreed to pay more than $130,000 in disgorgement and penalties, Heim said. He said Bankosky is contesting a SEC ban on his holding a position of company officer or director.

Bankosky had held the title of director of Takeda’s global licensing and business development unit in Deerfield, Illinois. In September 2010, he became a senior director, which is not a board position, his lawyers said. Bankosky resigned in May 2011.

The strategic alliance between Takeda and Cell Genesys was announced after the market closed on March 31, 2008 and the agreement for a deal was announced 10 days later, the court document said.

The SEC said that Bankosky again breached his duty to his employer and shareholders by buying call options in the securities of Arena Pharmaceutical Inc and AMAG Pharmaceutical Inc. The two companies were engaged in confidential discussions with Takeda in 2009 and 2010 respectively, the complaint said. Bankosky did not profit from those trades, the SEC said.

The case is SEC v Brent Bankosky, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 12-1012.

Reporting By Grant McCool; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick

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