The CEO of Emergent BioSolutions Robert Kramer could be in hot water as reports emerge of a suspect, and extremely convenient MASSIVE sale of stock. A scandal is brewing. Emergent has lost almost half of its’ value after disclosing to the public that it fouled as many as 15 Million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID19 vaccine which was being prepared at their Baltimore plant. The problem is that the CEO unloaded about $11 Million of stock beforehand, 97,849 shares reportedly. Naturally, the CEO’s alleged good fortune is raising concerns of a scandal.
According to Emergent Spokeswoman Nina DeLorenzo, the sale of Kramer’s stock was scheduled on Nov. 13th presumably to avoid any appearance of impropriety.
“All of Mr. Kramer’s sales were previously scheduled under 10b5-1 trading plans,” DeLorenzo said, referring to the Securities and Exchange Commission rule on trading by insiders.
“Mr. Kramer, our executive team, and our board of directors are held to the highest ethical standards and follow strict compliance with all laws and regulations governing financial transactions. Any insinuation of wrongdoing is without evidence or merit,” DeLorenzo said.
The Scandal Is That There Was A Pattern
However, there’s a problem with that theory: Emergent had another incident reported by The New York Times in October, right before the sale was scheduled which could have motivated Kramer to arrange for the sale in preparation for future problems. Before that, there was another incident in April where according to The Washington Post,
“Months earlier, in April 2020, a Food and Drug Administration inspector discovered violations at the Baltimore site, including inadequate training and a failure to follow testing procedures, The Post recently reported.”
Even earlier in July 2020, the Post reported that Emergent lost $19 million in Arbitration for damages due to study participants for an experimental ricin-based vaccine recieving doses that were “outside of specification”.
The logical extension of this is: having seen a pattern of serious failures occurring at the company, the CEO, Mr. Kramer made arrangements in November to reduce his financial exposure and hedge himself against additional losses he anticipated based on his insider knowledge.
Investors Smell Blood In The Water
Kramer, other executives and the corporation itself are now facing lawsuits from their investors in Maryland’s Federal Court. They allege that the company pumped up its stock price by making unrealistic claims about their ability of manufacture COVID19 vaccines while deliberately omitting the serious issues at the Baltimore, MD “Bayview” site. Three other law firms are now digging into the company’s filings and more legal action is likely to follow. The scandal is afoot.