How much is enough? Moderna plans a 4,000% Markup for their Covid vaccine. This vaccine isn’t just Moderna’s; it was developed in collaboration with a government agency. “The sheer greed is obscene,” said PVA policy co-lead Julia Kosgei, who stressed that “billions of taxpayer dollars went into the development of mRNA vaccines.” Moderna’s vaccine would not exist without funding from U.S. taxpayers.
Moderna used an incredible amount of U.S. public funding to develop its vaccine. According to STAT News, “the federal government gave Moderna $10 billion in taxpayer money for research and development and for advanced vaccine purchases. This includes almost the entire cost of clinical development and the purchase of 500 million doses. Moderna also used patent and nonexclusive rights the government made available to the company to make this Covid-19 vaccine.
Moderna has received almost a billion dollars from BARDA (Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, part of HHS). That’s all money from our taxes. On top of that, Moderna cut a deal —worth more than $1.5 billion—with the federal government for an initial 100 million vaccine doses.Forbes
Moderna’s top executives and early investors have become astoundingly rich, even after last week’s pounding, illustrating how transitory stock market wealth can sometimes be. Cofounder Robert Langer holds a stake worth nearly $2.8 billion, while CEO Stephane Bancel controls $5.3 billion of stock, plus options valued at $1.2 billion at the end of last year.
Moderna’s chief executive is pocketing millions of dollars every month by selling shares that have tripled in price on news of Moderna’s development progress, a Reuters analysis of corporate filings shows. The sales – by CEO Stéphane Bancel, his children’s trust, and the companies he owns – amount to about $21 million between January 1 and June 26, including $6 million in May.
The filings show that the company’s chief medical officer, Tal Zaks, has cashed out the majority of his available stock and options, netting over $35 million since January. A significant swath of Moderna‘s 2,400 employees owns shares through its stock purchase plan. The company also has issued options and share grants to employees and others with a combined paper profit of $8 billion.
How is it that pharmaceutical companies are profiting so handsomely from government-funded research? It goes back to the Bayh-Dole Act, a 1980 bipartisan bill sponsored by Indiana Democrat Birch Bayh and Kansas Republican Bob Dole. At that time, less than 5% of government-owned inventions were translated into commercial production. The law gave the patents from government-funded research to universities and small businesses, and they, in turn, partnered with private partners to make useful—and profitable—products. This huge giveaway was felt to be the price of innovation.
In other words, Moderna isn’t doing what’s right for us; it’s doing what’s right for themselves and investors. Another way the industry continues to prove it’s just a business.