Former Merck analyst from Cambridge charged with insider trading on Indenix hep C developer

A former Merck & Co. Inc. pharma analyst from Cambridge was charged with insider trading for allegedly tipped off a business school classmate about Merck’s interest in acquiring Cambridge-based, hepatitis C drug developer Idenix Pharmaceuticals Inc., before the purchase was announced this past June, court documents said.The Securities and Exchange Commission and federal prosecutors have filed a civil and criminal complaint against Zachary Zwerko. The info apparently allowed the friend to make $683,000,authorities said.

Zwerko also told his friend that several pharmaceutical companies were interested in buying Ardea Biosciences, Inc., court records said. AstraZeneca PLC eventually purchased Ardea in 2012.

In both cases, the trader who is not named in court documents, purchased shares in the smaller companies before they were acquired and then sold them later for significant profits, authorities said.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers