Novavax bosses cash out $46 million with COVID-19 vaccine trials still under way


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Development milestones for drugs can trigger big share price moves so pharmaceutical executives sometimes adopt a fixed schedule for stock sales — known as a 10b5-1 plan — to avoid any suggestion of insider trading.

Novavax executives disclosed in regulatory filings that they sold some of their shares using such trading plans.

A Novavax spokeswoman said executives adopted the plans in the summer, but did not provide the exact dates.

Moderna and Pfizer disclosed the dates when trading plans were adopted by executives in their filings. Such disclosure is not required and is less common across U.S. companies, said Dan Taylor, a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Out of the approximately US$46 million of stock sold, Novavax chief commercial officer John Trizzino sold about US$13 million, while Novavax’s head of research and development, Greg Glenn, sold about US$13.4 million, according to securities filings. The company’s chief legal officer, John Herrmann, sold US$10.9 million.

Executives at Emergent BioSolutions Inc, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, also recipients of federal funds, sold US$24 million, US$10 million and US$4 million worth of stock, respectively, according to Accountable.US. Moderna executives sold US$166 million worth, according to Accountable.US.

Nina DeLorenzo, a spokeswoman for Emergent BioSolutions, said in a statement that the majority of the transactions were planned in advance under a 10b5-1 trading plan adopted in February by the company’s executive chairman Fuad El-Hibri.

“Our executive team and board of directors are held to the highest ethical standards and follow strict compliance with company policies for equity holding, as well as all laws and regulations governing financial transactions,” according to the statement.

Pfizer and Moderna did not respond to requests for comment.

© Thomson Reuters 2020


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