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Moderna Officials Sold Shares, Made Millions on Virus Vaccine News

Moderna Officials Sold Shares, Made Millions on Virus Vaccine News
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By    |   Monday, 25 May 2020 02:18 PM

Two executives at drug maker Moderna Inc. reportedly sold nearly $30 million of stock after the biotech company announced promising early results for its coronavirus vaccine and before the share price went down again.

Moderna's share price (MRNT) skyrocketed 30 percent Monday to a record-high $87 after it released promising results from its vaccine trial May 18, sparking hope that a vaccine could be available January, Reuters reported.

Moderna's chief financial officer and chief medical officer executed options and sold nearly $30 million of shares combined on Monday and Tuesday, SEC filings reviewed by CNN Business show.

Lorence Kim, Moderna's chief financial officer, exercised 241,000 options for $3 million Monday, then sold them for $19.8 million, taking a $16.8 million profit.

The next day, Tal Zaks, Moderna's chief medical officer, exercised $1.5 million stock options before making a profit of $8.2 million when he offloaded them for $9.77 million

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company said the sales from the two insiders were executed under automated insider trading plans, known as 10b5-1 plans, making them legal, experts say.

The transactions are generally carried out automatically, meaning that the insiders would not have taken any action, the Daily Mail explained.

Such plans lay out future stock trades at set prices or on set dates, with transactions typically being carried out without the insiders taking any action.

“These transactions are executing automatically pursuant to these trading plans,” the company said.

Andrew Gordon, director of research services at Equilar, told CNN Business the executives' actions would only pose a 'legal issue if they created or modified their 10b5-1 plan while in possession of material insider information.

"It's not uncommon for insiders to sell shares they own, nor is it bad for them to capitalize on the current stock price."

Meanwhile, Moderna's stock was volatile for the rest of the week. 

Moderna shares rose Friday after Anthony Fauci, the leading U.S. infectious disease official, said he was optimistic about the company’s vaccine.

“Even though there were only eight individuals, we saw neutralizing antibodies at a reasonable dose of the vaccine,” Fauci said on CNN.

“Although the numbers were limited, it was really quite good news because it reached and went over an important hurdle in the development of vaccines. That’s the reason why I’m cautiously optimistic about it.”

Fauci said on NPR that he expects the full results of a Phase 1 study of the biotech’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine within weeks.

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Two executives at drug maker Moderna Inc. reportedly sold nearly $30 million of stock after the biotech company announced promising early results for its coronavirus vaccine and before the share price went down again.
moderna, stock, shares, sell, virus, vaccine
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2020-18-25
Monday, 25 May 2020 02:18 PM
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