Former Biopure Corp. senior vice president Howard Richman earned a three-year prison sentence and a $50,000 fine for faking cancer in an attempt to skate on a Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit, according to news reports.
Judge Mark Wolf of the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts slapped Richman, 57, with a harsher penalty than the 21 months prosecutors asked for and more than double the 15 months his lawyer sought.
Richman, the defunct Cambridge, Mass.-based blood substitute maker’s regulatory affairs chief, will also serve 36 months probation once he’s out of prison. He pleaded guilty in March to obstructing justice in the SEC case.
The commission accused Richman and other former managers of concealing the fact that the Food & Drug Administration was withholding approval of the firm’s flagship product, the blood substitute Hemopure, and halting further clinical trials over safety concerns.
Biopure raised millions on two public stock offerings before disclosing the bad news from the FDA, which sent its stock price plummeting.
Richman sought to avoid the trial by telling a federal judge he couldn’t participate because he was terminally ill with colon cancer, going so far as to impersonate a doctor during a phone call with his lawyers.
Coincidentally, OPK put out a press release today detailing its acquistion of Biopure and its capacity to make about 100,000 Hemopure units a year.
“The company also has all estimated and technical documents required for the construction of factories, able to produce more than 500 thousand doses of Hemopure a year,” according to the press release. “OPK Biotech and OPK plans imply the development of research-and-production complex in Russia, as well as further perfectionning of these technologies with the participation of Russian scientists and specialists.”