Although Slaoui will divest millions of dollars from the company, Moderna said it wishes the expert well in his new role.
Rabat – Morocco-born scientist Moncef Slaoui is set to divest $10 million from Moderna, one of the leading companies seeking to find a vaccine for COVID-19.
Slaoui, who is leading the US’ “Operation Warp Speed” to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, has a share of $10 million in stock options from Moderna, according to the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Slaoui, who had been on Moderna’s Board of Directors, resigned after President Donald Trump officially appointed him to lead Operation Warp Speed on Friday, May 15.
On May 18, Moderna announced promising preliminary outcomes of an ongoing vaccine trial involving eight subjects.
After the news, the company’s shares increased by more than 20%, Business Insider reported.
The news outlet said the company’s stock has more than tripled in value this year. The increase in the company’s stock value boosted Slaoui’s 156,000 options.
Slaoui plans to divest in order to avoid any conflict of interest, but the Securities and Exchange Commission has not yet reported when he will do so.
When announcing the news, the company said that the decision did not create any rift between Moderna and Slaoui.
“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,” a statement from the company said.
Slaoui had been a board member of biotech company Moderna since 2017 but resigned as soon as President Trump appointed him as the head of Operation Warp Speed.
Slaoui expressed optimism that his new team will be able to find a vaccine for COVID-19 in the near future. The expert said that he is “very confident” his team will deliver a few hundred million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine this year.
The Moroccan-American-Belgian scientist earned a Ph.D. in molecular biology and immunology from the Free University of Brussels, Belgium, and completed his postdoctoral studies at Harvard Medical School and Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston.