Stephen Goldfield, 46, who ran the hedge fund firm Imperium Capital Management, was charged with making $13.98m (£9.05m) in illegal profit by trading in MedImmune securities before Anglo-Swiss drug giant AstraZeneca agreed in April 2007 to buy the firm for more than $15bn.
The SEC also accused James Self Jr, 45, Goldfield’s friend and former Wharton School of Business classmate, of tipping him off about the MedImmune sale process with information he learned working for a New Jersey pharmaceutical firm.
Goldfield agreed to settle for $16.65m, reflecting the profit plus interest, but will only pay $600,000 because he lost all the illegal profit in several aggressive put option trades.
Self accepted a $50,000 civil fine. Neither admitted any wrongdoing.
The settlement comes as federal regulators have brought a spate of insider trading cases after facing a wave of criticism for having missed fraud in previous years.