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Chris Collins leaves a New York court. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

One Australian drug company — with only one (failed) product in one (failed) clinical trial — just keeps tripping up current and former House Republicans.

Driving the news: Federal prosecutors in New York indicted Rep. Chris Collins yesterday on charges of insider trading, stemming from the sale of shares in a company called Innate Immunotherapeutics.

It's the same company you may remember from Tom Price's confirmation as Health and Human Services secretary. He tripled his investment when divesting of the stock to become secretary, according to the Wall Street Journal.

  • Collins had been an investor in the company for 15 years, the WSJ reports, and was a member of its board.
  • Price bought almost 500,000 shares in the company, most of them in 2016, at a discounted rate only offered to a few Americans. At least four other GOP lawmakers also bought shares of Innate a few months later, according to the watchdog group CREW.
  • Of those six lawmakers, four — Collins, Price, and Reps. Billy Long and Markwayne Mullin — sat on committees with direct health care jurisdiction.

The company did not have any FDA-approved drugs on the market, and had just one product in development at the time the members of Congress bought their stock. It was in the midst of clinical trials for a multiple sclerosis drug.

  • That trial was deemed a failure on June 22, 2017. According to the indictment, the company let Collins know, because he was a board member. From an event on the South Lawn of the White House, he wrote back: “Wow. Makes no sense. How are these results even possible???”
  • "Within about fifteen seconds of sending his email," the indictment says, Collins started calling his son, who — along with his girlfriend and her family — quickly unloaded their Innate shares.

Why it matters: An indictment on charges of insider trading, with a pharmaceutical company, while writing the laws for pharmaceutical companies, is not the look Republicans would have wanted heading into what's already a difficult midterm election.

  • The indictment, and other lawmakers' stock ownership, also raise substantive questions about whether Congress has strong enough protections in place to prevent members from profiting off information they possess or votes they cast.

— An earlier version of this story misstated the drug Innnate Inmunotherapeutics was testing. It was a drug for multiple sclerosis.

Go deeper

Federal judge orders Trump administration to restore DACA

DACA recipients and their supporters rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 18. Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to fully restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, giving undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children a chance to petition for protection from deportation.

Why it matters: DACA was implemented under former President Obama, but President Trump has sought to undo the program since taking office. Friday’s ruling will require Department of Homeland Security officers to begin accepting applications starting Monday and guarantee that work permits are valid for two years.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — The recovery needs rocket fuel.
  2. Health: CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use" — Death rates rising across the country — Study: Increased testing can reduce transmission.
  3. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  4. Cities: Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate
  5. Vaccine: What vaccine trials still need to do.
  6. World: UN warns "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process.
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Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate

Golden Gate Park. Photo: Justin Sullivan via Getty

Counties around the San Francisco Bay Area will adopt California’s new regional stay-at-home order amid surges in cases and ICU hospitalizations, health officials said Friday.

The big picture: California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a three-week stay-at-home order on Thursday that would go into effect in regions with less than 15% ICU capacity. Despite the Bay Area’s current 25.3% ICU capacity, health officials from Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco and the city of Berkeley are moving ahead with a shelter-in-place mandate in the hopes of reducing risk.