Two executives at US pharmaceutical firm Regeneron sold $1 million in stock the first trading day after the White House revealed Donald Trump had been given the drug, and the president spoke effusively about the treatment.
Joseph Goldstein, who sits on the company’s board of directors, and Marion McCourt, SVP and head of commercial, exercised stock options that let them sell a total of 10,200 shares for a net profit of over $1 million (£766,500).
According to filings, the sale made about $740,000 for Goldstein and $260,000 for McCourt.
Trump posted a video praising the company’s antibody treatment, and Regeneron’s stock jumped over 3 per cent in after-hours trading.
On Monday, when markets opened, Regeneron stock prices surged from $564 to over $600 a share, and Goldstein and McCourt’s stock was sold.
A spokesperson for Regeneron said that the stock sales done by the executives were pre-planned, and done through a mechanism that was designed to avoid accusations of insider trading.
The experimental antibody treatment is not yet commercially available, has not passed formal trials or been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Yet on October 2 the president was administered the drug, which he now credits for his swift recovery.
He spent October 2-5 in the Walter Reed hospital, and then on October 7 he released a video touting the benefits of Regeneron’s treatment.
“I got back a day ago from Walter Reed medical center,” he said. «I spent four days there, I went in, I wasn’t feeling so hot, and within a very short period of time they gave me Regeneron. It’s called Regeneron. And other things too, but I think this was the key. They gave me Regeneron.
«It was, like, unbelievable. I felt good immediately.
“So I just want say, we have Regeneron, we have a very similar drug from Eli Lilly, and they are coming out, and we’re trying to get them on an emergency basis.»
He said he was going to try and get it “for free” for everyone who needed it.
«The jobs the scientists and the labs have done is incredible.
“They call it therapeutics, but I don’t call it a therapeutic — I call that a cure.”
He said he felt having access to the treatment was “frankly more important than a vaccine.”
«I walked in, I wasn’t feeling good — and 24 hours later I walked out the hospital.
“I feel great. I feel perfect.”
He added: “It was incredible the way it worked, incredible.”
His effusive praise was mocked by the anti-Trump campaign group The Lincoln Project, which published a video spoofing Trump as a snakeoil salesman of the type frequently seen on US cable stations, in low-budget commercials.
Regeneron was founded in Tarrytown, New York, in 1988 by Leonard Schleifer.
The 67-year-old now has a fortune estimated by Forbes of $2.3 billion.
Regeneron executives have continued a steady trade in stocks in the company over the years, but that has increased since the coronavirus pandemic.
So far this year $248 million in stock has been sold by company insiders — an increase of $100 million compared to 2019 and 2018.
Trump’s three family trusts held investments in Regeneron and pharmaceutical giant Sanofi, a major shareholder in the company, the New York Times reports.
The president’s 2017 filing with the Office of Government Ethics disclosed that he had shares in the company, but those did not appear in his 2020 filing.