U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 19568 / February 16, 2006
Securities And Exchange Commission v. Sanjiv S. Agarwala, Civil Action No. 06 CV 0352J (POR) (S.D. Cal.)
SEC Files Insider Trading Charges Against Doctor Who Participated in Clinical Trials for Maxim Pharmaceuticals
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a settled enforcement action today in federal district court in San Diego, California, charging Sanjiv S. Agarwala, M.D., of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with insider trading in the stock of San Diego-based Maxim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (now merged with EpiCept Corporation). Agarwala, age 44, is an associate professor of medicine and associate medical director of the melanoma program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. From January 2000 through the Fall of 2004, Agarwala consulted for Maxim on the clinical trials of Maxim's cancer drug Ceplene.
The Commission's complaint alleges that as one of the researchers involved in the Ceplene clinical trials, Agarwala learned of material nonpublic information on three separate occasions - specifically, that Maxim had received FDA approval for a treatment protocol for Ceplene for malignant melanoma, that the results from a clinical trial for acute myeloid leukemia were positive, and that the results from a clinical trial for malignant melanoma were negative. The complaint further alleges that in April, May, and September 2004, while aware of the material nonpublic information, Agarwala used his father's brokerage account to purchase or sell Maxim stock before the public announcements of that information. Agarwala's profits and loss avoided from his repeated insider trading totaled $14,784. By engaging in such trading, Agarwala breached his duty to Maxim not to trade on the basis of confidential information.
To settle the Commission's charges, Agarwala consented, without admitting or denying the allegations in the Commission's complaint, to the entry of a final judgment permanently enjoining him from future violations of the antifraud provisions of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. Agarwala also agreed to pay $14,784 in disgorgement of his illegal trading profits and loss avoided, plus prejudgment interest of $398, and a civil penalty of $29,568.
The Commission acknowledges the assistance of the National Association of Securities Dealers in the investigation of this matter.