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Coronavirus tsar to divest his $10 million in stocks from Moderna

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  • Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the former Moderna executive who was tapped last week to lead “Operation Warp Speed,” the White House effort to find a COVID-19 vaccine, will divest in his stock options from Moderna, the company said.
  • Prominent voices, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, had called on Slaoui to divest from the company, as it is receiving funding from the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • “Consistent with this appointment, we can also confirm that Dr. Slaoui is divesting all of his equity interest in Moderna so that there is no conflict of interest,” the company said in a statement. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Dr. Moncef Slaoui, an ex-Moderna board chair who was last week tapped to lead the White House effort to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, will divest his $10 million in stock options from the pharmaceutical company, representatives from Moderna said Monday afternoon.

“Dr. Slaoui resigned his Board position last week upon the appointment of his new role to oversee the White House’s Operation Warp Speed initiative,” Moderna said in a statement to Business Insider on Monday. “Consistent with this appointment, we can also confirm that Dr. Slaoui is divesting all of his equity interest in Moderna so that there is no conflict of interest with Dr. Slaoui in his new role.”

The company added: “We wish Dr. Slaoui well in this new role, and we know he has a lot to contribute as our nation — and the world— address the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren last week had called for Slaoui to divest his stock options from the company.

 

 

“It is a huge conflict of interest for the White House’s new vaccine czar to own $10 million of stock in a company receiving government funding to develop a COVID-19 vaccine,” Warren said in a tweet Friday. “Dr. Slaoui should divest immediately.”

Just after 8 a.m. Monday, Slaoui tweeted — and later deleted — a message to Warren claiming there was no conflict of interest “and there has never been.”

Moncef Slaoui

Slaoui tweeted and then deleted a message to Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Twitter


Slaoui spent nearly 30 years as an executive at the pharma company GSK, before joining the board of Moderna in 2017. Slaoui’s role at Moderna was focused on the company’s product development work. As the New York Times noted, “Dr. Slaoui might have been privy to the early indications of tests of whether the company’s approach appeared promising, now that it is being injected into human subjects.”

The White House did not offer comment for the story, and multiple attempts to reach Slaoui went unreturned as of press time.

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