Trump’s New COVID-19 Czar Has $10 Million In Stock Options In Vaccine Company
It was brought to light by Sen. Elizabeth Warren that President Trump’s choice to head the COVID-19 vaccine fight, Moncef Slaoui, has $10 million in stock options in a vaccine company. Sen. Warren says that Slaoui has a “huge conflict of interest.” She called for him to “divest immediately.”
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. Dr. Slaoui should divest immediately. https://t.co/8IWLxVL7la
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) May 15, 2020
Slaoui is a former executive in the pharmaceutical industry. He was named “chief scientist” by Trump on Friday. He was put in charge of “Operation Warp Speed” which is an operation designed to find a vaccine for COVID-19. Slaoui walked away from the board of directors for a Cambridge, Massachusetts biotech company, Moderna Inc. He had to step down, in order to, accept the position offered by Trump. Despite this, according to Business Insider, Slaoui still owns 155,000 shares in stock options from Moderna Inc. Altogether, the stock options equal to about $10 million.
The concern is that Monderna Inc. may be shown favoritism over other companies in the fight to find a vaccine. CNBC reported that Moderna stock went up 15 percent once it was revealed the company received $483 in federal money.
Slaoui admitted on Friday in the Rose Garden that although Trump’s wish for a vaccine by the end of 2020 is “credible” it will be “extremely challenging.” Slaoui expressed that he was “more confident” after reading “early data from a clinical trial.” Slaoui left out the name of the company that produced the clinical trial but Stat News which is a health publication believes it is Moderna. The New York Times reported that Moderna’s vaccine has been granted a phase 2 clinical trial.