Former Sirtex CEO pleads guilty to insider trading

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The former CEO of Australian biotechnology company Sirtex Medical, Gilman Wong, has pleaded guilty to one charge of insider trading.

Mr Wong was committed to the Sydney District Court for sentencing on a date to be fixed. The maximum penalty for an insider trading offence is 10 years' imprisonment.

The charge related to his sale of almost 75,000 shares in October 2016 while in possession of undisclosed information - the shares were valued at over $2 million.

Mr Wong sold his shares the day after the company's annual general meeting at which it reiterated a double-digit growth forecast. The company then downgraded its sales forecast in December 2016. Its share price plummeted 37 per cent. 

Sirtex Medical is best known for the SIR-Spheres microspheres technology used in the treatment of advanced liver cancer. The company is currently in the process of being acquired by Chinese company CDH Genetech Limited. Sirtex accepted the offer in June last year having rejected a $1.6 billion takeover bid from US company Varian.

The company is also facing a shareholder class action alleging breaches of corporations law for engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct.