A former employee of Pfizer was convicted of insider trading on Thursday for buying stock options in November 2021 just before Pfizer announced clinical trial results for the COVID antiviral drug Paxlovid, federal prosecutors said.
A federal jury in Manhattan found Amit Dagar, 44, of Hillsborough, NJ, guilty on one count of securities fraud, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors alleged Dagar had traded and tipped a friend on Nov. 4, 2021, the day before the drug maker announced that Paxlovid had performed well in the trial.
US Attorney Damian Williams said the verdict is a warning to “would-be insider traders tempted by the prospect of easy money.”
An attorney for Dagar did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Dagar was a senior statistical program lead for the Paxlovid drug trial, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s parallel civil case against Dagar and his friend Atul Bhiwapurkar.
Bhiwapurkar pleaded guilty to securities fraud in October.
The charges carry maximum sentences of 20 years, but any sentences would likely be much lower and would be imposed by the judge based on several factors.