Biostatistics chief at Akebia charged with securities fraud

The director of biostatistics at Massachusetts-based Akebia Therapeutics has been accused of insider trading by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). On 13 June, the DoJ charged Jason Chan with securities fraud and the next day the SEC filed a lawsuit alleging that he made $68,000 (£47,450) illegally as part of a scheme that earned his wife and a friend $115,000 and $105,000 in unlawful profits, respectively. The SEC wants that money to be relinquished.

Chan joined Akebia in August 2015, and is accused of almost immediately using highly confidential clinical trial data to trade company shares illegally. He apparently tipped off his wife and friend to trade the shares in advance of the company’s September 2015 announcement of the positive clinical trial results for its lead drug candidate, which resulted in significant share price gains for the company.

Akebia, which develops products for patients with kidney disease, says Chan is currently on administrative leave. The company emphasises that it is not a subject of the investigation and none of its other employees are suspected of any wrongdoing.