Former AstraZeneca exec charged with insider trading in Daiichi Sankyo's licensing deal

Buying 500 shares of Daiichi Sankyo stock 16 days before the company signed a lucrative licensing deal with AstraZeneca has a former AZ executive in the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC's) crosshairs.

According to an SEC complaint, Hugues Joublin, Ph.D.—who was AZ’s global head of corporate affairs for oncology—has been charged with taking advantage of his advance knowledge of the 2019 deal to buy $20,000 worth of stock.

Joublin became aware of AZ’s impending deal to acquire commercial rights to Daiichi Sankyo’s breast cancer drug Enhertu on March 6, 2019, the filing alleges; six days later, Joublin bought the Daiichi stock.

RELATED: Daiichi Sankyo, AstraZeneca's $5B Enhertu follow-up shows early signs of success in breast cancer

When the $6.9 billion licensing deal became official on March 28 and the price of Daiichi’s stock went up by 28%, the value of Joublin’s stake in the company increased by $4,955. The SEC is looking for Joublin to return the gains and pay a fine.

Joublin, 54, who left AstraZeneca in December 2019, has started two companies since, serving as CEO of Salience Communication and heading up Joublin Consulting.  

The case comes days after the SEC charged a California executive compensation consultant with benefiting from inside information when he bought shares of the biotech Kadmon before Sanofi bought it in a $1.9 billion deal.

Frank Glassner made an alleged $405,000 from buying the Kadmon stock, the SEC says.

RELATED: Kadmon consultant charged with insider trading ahead of biotech's $1.9B sale to Sanofi: SEC

Others have been charged with trying to take advantage of biopharma M&A activities with stock purchases. In September of last year, the SEC alleged former Goldman Sachs compliance analyst Jose Luis Casero Sanchez enriched himself by more than $70,000 by trading on privileged information about Jazz Pharmaceuticals’ takeover of GW Pharmaceuticals.