On Oct. 2, it was announced that President Trump was taking an experimental antibody cocktail manufactured by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. According to recent Securities and Exchange Commission filings (via NBC News), an executive at Regeneron and one of its directors sold $1 million in stocks just two days after that development.
What is Regeneron known for?
President Trump brought Regeneron public attention when he posted a video of himself praising “Regeneron” and not REGN-COV2, the treatment, as a “cure.” In addition to its antibody cocktail, which has been used on an experimental basis to treat COVID-19, Regeneron is known for injectables treating conditions including asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and advanced skin cancer.
Regeneron and COVID-19
On Oct. 5, Joseph Goldstein, a member of Regeneron’s board of directors, and Marion McCourt, SVP and Head of Commercial for the company, sold stock shares for a total value of $1 million (via NBC News). SEC filings show totals of about $740,000 worth for Goldstein and $260,000 worth for McCourt.
Spokesman Eli Zupnick of the watchdog group Accountable.US criticized “a clear pattern of President Trump pumping up stocks with his ‘miracle cure’ hype,” according to NBC News.
He also wrote in his email, “There should absolutely be an investigation to determine whether there were any improprieties regarding these stock sales, including any potential government action taken to enrich President Trump or his political advisers.”
Spokesperson for Regeneron, Alexandra Bowie, told NBC News that the stock sales by Goldstein and McCourt were done according to a 10b5-1 plan. In this case, the sales were triggered automatically by a pre-set condition. She said that the executive and director were “not aware of any material, nonpublic information.”
Daniel Taylor, an associate professor at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, said (via NBC News), “If10b5-1 are put in place well in advance of any event, it provides safe harbor regardless of the event.”
Who is Regeneron's CEO?
Leonard Schleifer is the co-founder and chief executive of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, based in Tarrytown, NY. He has been a member of Trump’s golf club in Westchester, New York, and the president’s financial reports of 2016 and 2017 show him owning shares of Regeneron (via CBS News.)
In an interview with CBS News’ Margaret Brennan on Face the Nation, the CEO cautioned against making too much of Trump’s treatment success (via MarketWatch). He said it was a “case of one” and that the most important evidence of the drug’s efficacy will come from large, randomized clinical trials.
Schleifer tentatively agreed with Trump’s statement that he now is immune to COVID-19, but said that he doesn’t know how long immunity obtained from Regeneron’s drug could last.