Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel Has Sold $408M in Company Stock During Pandemic: Report

by Michael Freeman
(Staff Photo By Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

Though COVID-19 began with little we could do to fight against it, several companies have developed vaccines and are easing us back into our old way of life. One of those happens to be Moderna, and its CEO Stephane Bancel has reportedly sold $408 million in company stock since the pandemic began.

What we Learned

  • Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel sold $408 million in company stock since the pandemic started.
  • Bancel sells the stock at regular weekly intervals.
  • He does so through a 10b5-1 plan, which some economists criticize.
  • Despite rumors stating otherwise, he did not “dump” more than $400 million in Moderna stock all at once.

According to CNBC, a new report states Bancel sold it as his company’s stock skyrocketed due to its COVID vaccine development. On a weekly basis, this averages to $3.6 million. Prior to the pandemic, Moderna wasn’t well-known outside of biotech circles, but its vaccine coupled with cooperating with the National Institutes of Health made it a known commodity. As of now, its shots are only behind Pfizer, with the company administering more than 209 million doses.

Bancel’s net worth since then now exceeds $5.3 billion in company equity alone. The mentioned $408 million Bancel cashed out has been done through 10b5-1 stock plans adopted before the pandemic. These allow executives to sell a certain amount of shares at certain intervals. This avoids the possibility of insider trading. Further, professor of accounting at the Stanford Graduate School of Business David Larcker said its a sort of failsafe against being sued.

Nonetheless, CNBC states 10b5-1 plans are controversial due to lacking transparency. For example, companies with executives using these plans don’t need to disclose content plans to the SEC.

Moderna’s stock began rising in earnest on January 23, 2020, when it announced the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations funded it to develop a vaccine. That announcement alone spiked its stock a massive 614%. That same year in December 2020, the FDA granted emergency authorization to use Moderna’s vaccine and we’ve been using it since. Bancel even thinks it’s “reasonable’ the pandemic may be in its final stages.

Rumors State Bancel ‘Dumped’ $408 Million of Moderna Stock and are Untrue

Stephane Bancel’s stock decisions have been gathering attention lately mainly due to rumors surrounding them. Though some outlets report he “dumped” $400 million of Moderna stock, that rumor is not true.

USA Today fact-checked the details surrounding rumors in February and March about Bancel’s stock maneuvers. Said rumors began after Bancel canceled his Twitter account last month and a Facebook post stated he “dumped” his stock. “The CEO of Moderna deleted his Twitter & dumped $400M of Moderna stock,” the post reads. “Big Pharma seems to know some bad news is coming.”

News outlets like News Punch shared the information from the post and it quickly picked up steam. However, as USA Today states, checking websites like Insider Screener will show Bancel selling the stock at regular intervals. The $400 million figure frequently cited is the same one listed above.