NEW: Moderna Admits Patent Uncertainty; Watchdog Calls For New Investigation Into Executive Stock Dumping
Axios: “Moderna reveals it may not hold patent rights”
Washington, DC – Today, following new reports that Moderna admitted in recent financial filings that it “cannot be certain that [they] were the first to make the inventions claimed in our patents or pending patent applications,” specifically naming the COVID vaccine candidate developed with NIH research and funding, Accountable Pharma called for a new investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) into whether Moderna hid this information from the public while their executives cashed out millions in stock options.
“It was disturbing to see Moderna executives dumping their stock options after government funding announcements sent shares soaring, and this kind of insider trading would be even worse if they did it while withholding key information about government ownership of their vaccine,” said Eli Zupnick, spokesman for Accountable Pharma. “We are calling on the SEC to fully investigate Moderna’s executive stock dumping in the wake of this new admission and for the company to be transparent about the public’s ownership of the ‘industry’s most expensive’ vaccine.”
In June, Accountable.US’ president Kyle Herrig wrote to the SEC “regarding potential violations of the U.S. securities laws committed by officers and a board member of Moderna, Inc., and also possibly by the company itself.” The letter continued, saying “this misconduct was particularly egregious because it involved not only financial fraud and manipulation of the financial markets, but also because it exploited widespread fears surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. I strongly urge the SEC to investigate these matters.”
- 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.”
- 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.