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December 17, 2012
Dr. Gilman's Turn Toward the Inside
Remember that story last month about insider trading on the Wyeth bapineuzumab Alzheimer's results? Dr. Sidney Gilman of Michigan is accused of passing on the data and profiting from it. Now the New York Times has some very interesting background:
What is clear is that Dr. Gilman made a sharp shift in his late 60s, from a life dedicated to academic research to one in which he accumulated a growing list of financial firms willing to pay him $1,000 an hour for his medical expertise, while he was overseeing drug trials for various pharmaceutical makers. Among the firms he was advising was another hedge fund that was also buying and selling Wyeth and Elan stock, though the authorities have given no sign they have questioned those trades.
His conversion to Wall Street consultant was not readily apparent in his lifestyle in Michigan and was a well-kept secret from colleagues. Public records show no second home, and no indication of financial distress. Nevertheless, he was willing to share a glimpse of his lifestyle with a 17-year-old student whom he sat next to on a flight from New York to Michigan a few months ago, telling her how his Alzheimer’s research allowed him to enjoy fine hotels in New York and limousine rides to the airport.
This is hard. Experts have real value, and should be able to share the expertise that they've built up. But when these amounts of money are involved, there seems no way to do that without walking through a minefield. I get the impression that Prof. Gilman may have found out the truth of Screwtape's assertion:
"Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one--the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts. . ."
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