Trump vaccine czar makes $3.4M windfall as firm reports progress on coronavirus shot and stock soars
By Dave Goldiner
New York Daily News |
May 18, 2020
Moncef Slaoui, a former GlaxoSmithKline executive, listens as President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the Rose Garden of the White House.(Alex Brandon/AP)
A controversial biotech firm is claiming early positive progress on its trial of a coranavirus vaccine — giving a massive financial boost to President Trump’s newly minted vaccine czar.
The report sent Moderna stock soaring by up to 34% in pre-market trading Monday. It was trading up a more modest 22% by midmorning.
The stock spike temporarily added at least $3.4 million to the bottom line of Moncef Slaoui, the just-named vaccine czar who was on the board of Moderna until his appointment.
Slaoui, a veteran Big Pharma exec, holds 156,000 stock options that increased in value by more than $3 million on the Monday morning news.
Ethics experts called the lucrative morning for Slaoui a prime example of why he should not be making decisions about winners and losers in the coronavirus vaccine race.
“You could hurt or kill millions of people,” said Peter Maybarduk of Public Citizen, a watchdog group. “A better vaccine might not be created or it might not be distributed to the widest number of people.”
Maybarduk added: “Many decisions will come across his desk. Deciding one way would make him money and a different decision might save millions of lives.”
Slaoui, a former GlaxoSmithKline executive, spoke glowingly last week about Trump’s goal of producing a coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year.
Slaoui slyly suggested that he had heard great news about one company’s vaccine effort, a possible reference to Moderna. He did not mention his financial interest in the company.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren slammed the lucrative stock options as a blatant conflict of interest for Slaoui, who will be involved in selecting which vaccine trials get government backing.
VSF: Last night I had one of those waking-dreams that are more like visions than dreams. I live on the Olympic Peninsula in WA State and in the dream-vision I saw the city of Seattle as a putrid dark evil place. A source of evil. The image was very visual and also a feeling. When I woke up I realized that Seattle is home to Gates.
In fact I lived in Seattle 1995-2000 and never thought of Seattle as the center of darkness and evil. However I did have, many times, visions of the entire city in a massive earthquake event, with tall buildings swaying violently dropping tons of glass on the streets below. I “saw” this while standing on the street. At other times when driving in my car, I saw giant tsunami waves cover the city, me and my car. This happened so often that I eventually moved away.