Washington, DC – Today, following the release of an important new analysis by Public Citizen laying out how the federal government may have joint ownership of a coronavirus vaccine with Moderna, Patients Over Pharma released the following statement and research background highlighting the Administration’s connections to Moderna that could impact their willingness to take advantage of this authority to ensure affordable access to the vaccine. The research includes background on Operation Warp Speed’s chief advisor, Dr. Moncef Slaoui, showing that he had received over $25 million from drug companies since 2016 alone and had close ties to drug companies including Moderna, GlaxoSmithKline, Lonza, Medicxi, Vaxcyte, Artizan Biosciences, Brii Biosciences, Intellia Therapeutics, and Galvani Bioelectronics.

“This is one more reason why it’s so damaging for the Administration’s vaccine development program to be shrouded in secrecy and guided by a drug company executive with close ties to Moderna who has been exempted from conflict of interest laws and has refused to fully divest from his drug company holdings,” said Eli Zupnick, spokesman for Patients Over Pharma. “People should be able to trust that their government will fight for them and make sure that federally funded and jointly owned vaccines are affordable and accessible, even if that means taking on the Administration’s friends in the drug industry – and right now that trust simply isn’t there.”

Yesterday, Patients Over Pharma reiterated its call for transparency from the Trump Administration’s Operation Warp Speed vaccine and treatment development program to ensure that political pressure isn’t once again impacting the government’s COVID-19 response efforts.

Earlier this month, Patients Over Pharma called on Congress to mandate that an independent patient advocate be appointed to audit and provide continued oversight of the Trump Administration’s ‘Operation Warp Speed’ COVID-19 vaccine and treatment development program.

Last month, following reporting that the HHS refused to confirm whether the Trump Administration secured any assurances regarding vaccine pricing from drug companies receiving the over $2 billion in federal vaccine development investments, Patients Over Pharma filed Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests seeking the details of any vaccine development-related contracts between drug companies and HHS, including the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR).

BACKGROUND: Moncef Slaoui & Big Pharma

Headline: New York Times: “Trump Picks Ex-Drug Company Executive to Lead Accelerated Coronavirus Vaccine Effort.” [New York Times, 5/13/20]

Trump Selected Former Drug Company Executive Moncef Slaoui To Lead Government Efforts To Speed Up Coronavirus Vaccine Development. “President Trump has picked a former executive of a major pharmaceutical company to lead Operation Warp Speed, the government’s effort to speed up development of a vaccine for the coronavirus, a senior administration official said Wednesday. Moncef Slaoui, a former chairman of vaccines at GlaxoSmithKline, one of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical conglomerates, will serve as the chief adviser on the vaccine effort, and Gen. Gustave F. Perna, a four-star general who is in charge of the Army’s readiness as head of the Army Matériel Command, will be the chief operating officer.” [New York Times, 5/13/20]

Slaoui Currently Serves On The Board Or As An Adviser For At Least 5 Pharma Companies – Including Three Actively Working On Coronavirus Vaccines Or Treatments – And Has Made More Than $13.5 Million From Pharmaceutical Work Since 2016:

 

Moderna 

Slaoui Joined Board Of Directors Of Moderna In July 2017. “Moderna Therapeutics, a clinical stage biotechnology company that is pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines to create a new generation of transformative medicines for patients, announced today that Moncef M. Slaoui, Ph.D., has joined its Board of Directors. Dr. Slaoui served in several senior research & development (R&D) roles with GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK) during his time with the company, most recently as its Chairman of Global Vaccines. While at GSK, Dr. Slaoui also served on its Board of Directors for 11 years and led its global pharmaceutical R&D activities from 2006 through to 2015. In conjunction with Dr. Slaoui’s appointment to Moderna’s board, Lee Babiss, Ph.D., will be stepping down from his role as a director.” [Moderna press release, 7/27/17]

Headline: Fierce Pharma: “’Warp Speed’ head Slaoui, challenged for ‘huge conflict of interest,’ sells off $12.4M in Moderna stock.” [FiercePharma, 5/19/20]

Moderna Received Fast Track Approval From The FDA To Move To Phase II Testing Of Potential Coronavirus Vaccine. “On May 12, Moderna Therapeutics, based in Cambridge, Mass., received fast-track approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273. Days earlier, the FDA gave the company the green light to proceed to Phase 2 testing of the vaccine, which is expected to begin shortly. The company plans to launch the final stage of human testing, Phase 3, this summer, assuming the Phase 2 studies are complete, says Dr. Stephen Hoge, president of Moderna.” [TIME, 5/12/20]

Moderna Received $453 Million Contract From BARDA To Accelerate Development Of Vaccine Candidate. “Moderna announced last month it had received a $483 million contract from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to accelerate the development of its vaccine candidate.” [SeacoastOnline, 5/1/20]

GlaxoSmithKline

Slaoui Worked At GlaxoSmithKline For 30 Years And Has Been A Venture Capitalist Since Leaving The Company In 2017. “Mr. Slaoui, who has been a venture capitalist since leaving GlaxoSmithKline in 2017, worked for 30 years at the company, helping lead the development of dozens of vaccines.” [New York Times, 5/13/20]

Lonza 

Slaoui Elected To Board Of Directors For Lonza In April 2020. “Lonza Group Ltd. has hosted its Annual General Meeting, according to a press release. . . . The shareholders elected Dorothée Deuring and Moncef Slaoui as new members of the board, and elected Angelica Kohlmann, Christoph Mäder, and Jürgen Steinemann as the three acting members of the Nomination and Compensation Committee.” [Lonza press release, 4/28/20]

Moderna And Lonza Launched Agreement To Partner On Coronavirus Vaccine Development. “Moderna, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotechnology company, on Friday announced it is manufacturing a potential COVID-19 vaccine – called mRNA-1273 – in cooperation with Lonza. . . . According to a joint statement from the companies, the technology transfer is expected to begin in June, and the companies intend to make the first batches of mRNA-1273 at the Lonza facility at Pease in July. Over time, the parties say they intend to establish additional production sites across Lonza’s worldwide facilities, ultimately allowing for the manufacture of material equivalent to up to 1 billion doses of mRNA-1273 per year for use worldwide.” [SeacoastOnline, 5/1/20]

Medicxi

Slaoui Joined Life Sciences Investment Firm Medicxi As Partner In September 2017. “Medicxi, the leading European life sciences investment firm, today announces that Dr Moncef Slaoui, alongside his other commitments, has joined its team as Partner. Dr Slaoui was formerly GSK’s Chairman of Pharmaceutical R&D and of its vaccines division.” [Medicxi press release, 9/19/17]

Medicxi Scientific Advisory Boards Included Representatives From Novartis, Verily Life Sciences, GlaxoSmithKline And Johnson & Johnson. [Medicxi press release, 9/19/17]

Vaxcyte (SutroVax) 

Slaoui Served On Board Of Directors For Biopharmaceutical Company Vaxcyte (Previously SutroVax) Since July 2017. “SutroVax, a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the delivery of best-in-class conjugate vaccines and novel complex antigen-based vaccines to prevent serious infectious diseases, today announced the appointment of Moncef Slaoui, PhD, to the company’s Board of Directors. Dr. Slaoui recently retired following a nearly 30-year career at GlaxoSmithKline, during which time he oversaw research and development as Chairman of GSK R&D, served on the board, and most recently built the GSK vaccine division into the lead position in the industry as the Chairman of GSK Vaccines.” [SutroVax press release, 7/19/17]

Slaoui Was Named Chairman Of SutroVax In June 2018. “A little more than a year after it raised $64 million to develop a next-gen pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, SutroVax is back with another raise. And this time, it’s tapping an industry veteran to help steer the ship. Foster City, Calif.-based SutroVax on Thursday unveiled an $85 million series C funding round to advance its lead program, a pneumococcal shot aimed at taking on a multibillion-dollar market now owned by Pfizer’s Prevnar 13. The biotech also stepped former GSK vaccines president Moncef Slaoui up to its chairman role after he joined the board nearly one year ago.” [Fierce Pharma, 6/7/18]

Slaoui Was Listed As Chairman Of Board Of Directors Of Vaxcyte As Of June 25, 2020. [Vaxcyte – Board of Directors, accessed 6/25/20]

Brii Biosciences 

Slaoui Served As Scientific And Strategic Adviser To Brii Biosciences. [Brii Biosciences, accessed 5/14/20]

Brii Biosciences Partnered With Chinese Hospital And University On Coronavirus Antibody Research As Potential Treatment. “Brii Biosciences has teamed up with a Chinese hospital and university to develop antibodies against COVID-19. The partners leveraged their proximity to the initial outbreak and experience with SARS and MERS to build up a library of potentially neutralizing antibodies, putting them on track to start testing candidates in humans in the third quarter. . . . Sino-U.S. biotech Brii has established itself as a one of the rising stars of the infectious disease space in recent years, reeling in hundreds of thousands of dollars in VC funding to buy in a slew of assets. Late last year, Brii wound down its deal-making to focus on advancing its existing assets, but COVID-19 has led it to rethink.” [Fierce Biotech, 4/1/20]

Intellia Therapeutics 

Slaoui Named To Board Of Directors Of Intellia Therapeutics In July 2017. “Intellia Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:NTLA), a leading genome editing company focused on the development of potentially curative therapeutics using CRISPR technology, announced today the appointment of Moncef Slaoui, Ph.D. and Frank Verwiel, M.D. to its Board of Directors. Drs. Slaoui and Verwiel will begin Board responsibilities effective immediately. Intellia’s Board of Directors also is establishing a Science and Technology Committee, which will be chaired by Dr. Slaoui. Additionally, Carl L. Gordon, Ph.D., CFA, General Partner, OrbiMed Advisors, LLC, has informed the Company of his resignation from the Intellia Board of Directors effective at that close of business on July 25, 2017.” [Intellia Therapeutics press release, 7/24/17]

Slaoui Resigned From Intellia Board After Two Weeks Due To Unspecified Conflict Of Interest. “The former head of GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccines division has resigned suddenly from the board of Cambridge gene editing biotech Intellia Therapeutics after just two weeks in that role due to an unexplained conflict of interest, according to a federal filing on Tuesday…. The filing said only that the resignation was “due to a conflict of interest” and did not relate to “any disagreement with the company on any matter relating to the company’s operations, policies or practices.” A spokesperson for Intellia declined to comment further.” [Boston Business Journal, 8/9/17]

Galvani Bioelectronics 

Slaoui Named Chair Of GSK/Google Galvani Bioelectronics In August 2016. “Galvani Bioelectronics – named for the 18th century Italian bioelectricity pioneer – will combine GSK’s drug discovery and development expertise in disease biology with Verily’s expertise in highly miniaturised technologies, including data analytics and software development for clinical application. Moncef Slaoui, chairman of global vaccines at GSK and chair of the newly-created biotech, said: “Together, we can rapidly accelerate the pace of progress in this exciting field, to develop medicines that truly speak the electrical language of the body.’” [PMLive, 8/1/16]

Galvani Is A Bioelectronic Medicine Company Established As A Partnership Between GlaxoSmithKline And Verily Life Sciences. “Galvani Bioelectronics is a new company, established in November 2016, dedicated to the development of bioelectronic medicines – a new class of medicines consisting of miniaturised, implantable devices. Formed through a partnership between global healthcare company, GSK, and leading technology company, Verily Life Sciences, Galvani Bioelectronics combines the complementary expertise of its parent companies to enable the research, development and commercialisation of bioelectronic therapies.” [Galvani – About Us, accessed 5/14/20]

Artizan Biosciences 

Slaoui Serves On Board Of Directors For Artizan Biosciences. [Artizan Biosciences – Board, accessed 6/25/20]

PhRMA and BIO

Slaoui Previously Served On Board Of Directors For PhRMA And BIO. “Dr. Slaoui has authored more than 100 scientific papers and presentations and served on the board of directors for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America’s Foundation, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization’s board of directors, and was a member of the National Institutes of Health’s Advisory Committee until 2016. Currently, he is a member of the Advisory Board for the Qatar Foundation.” [Intellia Therapeutics press release, 7/24/17]

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