Tuesday, June 12, 2012

In Letter, US Senator Asks SEC About Company's Rule 10b5-1 Plans

If the SEC staff decides to take acrtion on reports concerning the release of clinical trial data by Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Vertex) and stock sold by Vertex executives, Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) would like a briefing on their findings by June 28, 2012. In a letter to SEC Chair Mary Schapiro, the Senator said that he is troubled by news reports showing that between the time of the May 7 announcement and a Vertex correction of May 29th, five Vertex executives and two directors old off millions of dollars of Vertex shares.  According to the Boston Globe, noted the Senator, Vertex officials claim that most of the stock sales by executives and directors in the days following the disclosure of the encouraging clinical study results stemmed from preexisting Rule 10b5-1 plans that allow them to automatically exercise options and sell certain shares at regular intervals or set prices.  Despite this explanation, Senator Grassley said that it could appear that these executives potentially took advantage of the spike in the stock knowing the news of clinical data being overstated would eventually be made public, in  turn, negatively affecting the stock value.