FLASHBACK: Axios: “Moderna reveals it may not hold patent rights”

FLASHBACK: “Moderna executives hiked their stock sales after announcing positive vaccine trial”

Washington, DC – Today, watchdog and patient advocacy group Accountable Pharma released the following statement on the announcement by Moderna, based on initial data, that their COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective, calling on Moderna to freeze insider stock sales and refrain from profiteering off of a vaccine developed using taxpayer dollars. Last week Accountable Pharma called for an SEC investigation into recent stock sales made by Pfizer’s CEO following their recent announcement on vaccine efficacy. 

“This is more fantastic news for patients and families across the country whose taxpayer dollars funded this vaccine that will hopefully help end this pandemic,” said Eli Zupnick, spokesman for Accountable Pharma.

“Remember, Moderna used government research and intellectual property along with billions of dollars in Operation Warp Speed funding to develop this vaccine risk-free while their executives cashed out over $100 million in shares to guarantee their fortunes whether or not the vaccine actually worked. So as we wait for more information and FDA review we call on Moderna to freeze their insider stock sales and not attempt to profiteer further off of a drug that would never have been possible without federal research, investments, and advance purchases.”

In September, Accountable Pharma released a report revealing that top executives and directors at five top drug companies receiving billions of taxpayer dollars through Operation Warp Speed have made more than $145 million cashing out their stock options between the launch of Operation Warp Speed on May 15th and the end of August 2020. 

Additional background 

  • Federal Funding: Moderna was named one of five vaccine finalists by Operation Warp Speed in early June. It has received $536 million from BARDA for development of its COVID vaccine candidate.
  • Trump Administration Ties: At the time of his appointment as chief advisor of Operation Warp Speed, Moncef Slaoui was a Moderna board member who held 155,000 shares in the company valued at $10M. Slaoui has also served on the board of Lonza which partnered with Moderna to provide manufacturing capacity.
  • Influence Peddling: They report spending $50K on lobbying since 2019.
  • Details On Pricing & Accessibility: Moderna’s contract with BARDA, obtained by KEI, is available here. Moderna’s CEO has claimed that they would be “very thoughtful” about pricing a COVID vaccine but declined to elaborate. The NIH contributed significant research to Moderna’s vaccine candidate development and may have a stake in the intellectual property patent that could allow the government to assert rights like price controls. 
  • WaPo: “A coronavirus vaccine rooted in a government partnership is fueling financial rewards for company executives: Moderna’s top leaders sold company stock as the share value skyrocketed.”
  • CNBC: “Moderna’s second-quarter revenue jumps fivefold on coronavirus vaccine development.”
  • CNN: “Moderna already got $400 million for a Covid vaccine that isn’t available.”
  • Boston Business Journal: “Moderna confirms its Covid-19 vaccine could be industry’s most expensive.”


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