Moderna’s COVID19 vaccine – Wall Street frenzy sparks investigation

June 4th, 2020

Questions have arisen about Moderna executives making huge profits when the company went public on May 18th. It announced initial results of its vaccine programme in a press release in the early morning and by late afternoon had raised $1.3 billion in a public offering. Within days some of Moderna’s executives cashed in their stock, raising tens of millions and many eyebrows, along with suggestions that the company should be investigated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). It was also reported that Moderna overstated the effects of its Phase 1 vaccine trial: details of only 8 of the 45 participants were released. Phase 1 was meant to measure the safety of the vaccine, not effectiveness, but the press release focused on effectiveness. What was not clearly reported was that 3 out of 15 subjects in the high dose group produced Grade 3 systemic adverse effects (FDA definition: interferes with daily life and requires medical intervention) The company is using a new type of mRNA technology to make the vaccine, which has not, to date, been successfully achieved. To increase efficacy, the company is adding “nanoparticles” to the vaccine, working with the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Projects Agency (DARPA), one of the funders for Moderna’s COVID19 vaccine project.

Moderna is one of the front runners in the race to create a COVID19 vaccine. This endeavour is supported by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with a $20 million grant, with further funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI – also funded by Bill Gates), almost half a billion dollars of funding from the US government as well as additional monies from DARPA and more from Bill Gates himself. It is working with the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NAID) under Dr Anthony Fauci, the US government’s spokesperson for the COVID19 pandemic. Moncef Slaoui resigned from the board of Moderna recently to become head of the White House Director of Operation Warp Speed, with the intention to fast-track a COVI19 vaccine. Before sitting on Moderna’s board, Moncef Slaoui was previously an executive with vaccine maker GlaxoSmithKleine and still sits on the board of the Human Vaccines Project, an AI machine learning project whose goal is to reinvent the human immune system.

How can it be legal to line up automated sales of shares for a particular day, then be in charge of the timing of a press release that sees that stock go up by 20% in a matter of hours, just in time to take full advantage of the automated sales?

The money involved in the development stage alone is eyewatering, every corner has already been cut, animal studies have been waived and permission for Phase 2 given before any real safety study has been done. How much temptation will there be to win this billion dollar race at any cost, by a company that has, to date, never produced a single successful vaccine?