Moderna (ticker: MRNA) shares rose more five times in price last year, compared with a 16.3% rise in the S&P 500. This year, shares are up another 35%, while the S&P has gained 9.9%.
The company has been making new versions of its vaccine to fight variants of Covid-19. While reporting a strong fourth quarter, Moderna announced that the company’s chief medical officer, Dr. Tal Zaks, would leave the company in late September.
From Feb. 22 through Feb. 24, Afeyan sold 6.5 million Moderna shares for a total of $986.4 million, at an average price of $150.88 each.
Afeyan then sold another 3.8 million Moderna shares from March 29 through March 31 for a total of $455.7 million, a per-share average price of $121.43.
According to forms filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Moderna chairman sold the shares through units of Flagship Pioneering, a life-sciences venture-capital firm that he founded and serves as CEO. Flagship now owns 20.6 million Moderna shares, while Afeyan holds 2.1 million shares in a personal account. Flagship is now Moderna’s third-largest shareholder, according to S&P Capital IQ.
Moderna didn’t respond to a request to make Afeyan available for comment on his stock sales.
Flagship provided a statement to Barron’s:
“Our sales over recent weeks and months were pursuant to a 10b5-1 plan put in place last December and executed in two installments following the passage of 60 days from the original filing. As per our form 4 filing, this program covered 10 million shares, and is now concluded. At the time Moderna spun out from Flagship 10 years ago, Flagship held roughly 60 million shares, and since 2019 it has periodically made distributions of roughly half that sum to its investors. We currently retain 20 million shares of Moderna stock.“
This story has been updated to include a statement from Flagship.
Inside Scoop is a regular Barron’s feature covering stock transactions by corporate executives and board members—so-called insiders—as well as large shareholders, politicians, and other prominent figures. Due to their insider status, these investors are required to disclose stock trades with the Securities and Exchange Commission or other regulatory groups.
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