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Milpitas man charged with insider trading relating to the results of Pfizer’s trial for Paxlovid

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A 45-year-old Milpitas man was one of two individuals charged last month with insider trading relating to clinical trial results for the COVID-19 drug Paxlovid, officials said.

On June 29, Atul Bhiwapurkar was arrested and charged with two counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, according to the United States Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York. Each count of securities fraud carries a maximum sentence of 20 years and a count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

On Nov. 4, Amit Dagar of Hillsborough, New Jersey — the other person charged in the case — learned that a Pfizer trial of Paxlovid had produced positive results. Dagar was an employee of Pfizer and managed data analysis for clinical drug trials. The results of the trial were supposed to remain private until the company announced them on Nov. 5, but according to the indictment, Dagar purchased short-dated, out-of-the-money call options in Pfizer stock and then alerted Bhiwapurkar about the information.

Bhiwapurkar allegedly made similar stock purchases and then alerted another friend who also made a stock purchase. After the announcement on Nov. 5, Pzifer stock prices closed 10% higher than the previous day, and several weeks later, Dagar, Bhiwapurkar and the other unnamed individual sold their stocks for a more than $350,000 collective profit.

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