Stéphane Bancel, Getty

As Covid-19 vac­cine was be­ing de­vel­oped, Mod­er­na shelled out more than $1M for top ex­ec­u­tives' se­cu­ri­ty

Tal Zaks

As Mod­er­na worked in over­drive to cre­ate the sec­ond Covid-19 vac­cine grant­ed emer­gency use au­tho­riza­tion by the FDA, it spent more than $1.1 mil­lion on se­cu­ri­ty for its top ex­ec­u­tives — the over­whelm­ing ma­jor­i­ty of which went to keep­ing CEO Stéphane Ban­cel safe.

More than $1 mil­lion was spent on se­cu­ri­ty costs for Ban­cel in 2020, ac­cord­ing to a proxy fil­ing pub­lished this week. CMO Tal Zaks, who in Feb­ru­ary an­nounced that he will leave the com­pa­ny lat­er this year, re­ceived $143,719 for se­cu­ri­ty. The com­pa­ny al­so spent $16,380 on se­cu­ri­ty for Pres­i­dent Stephen Hoge, and $28,161 on SVP Juan An­dres.

The spend­ing in­crease ad­dressed se­cu­ri­ty con­cerns as the com­pa­ny pur­sued the de­vel­op­ment of the Covid-19 vac­cine, the re­port said.

“In re­sponse to the in­creased pro­file of our Com­pa­ny and our ex­ec­u­tives as we pur­sued the de­vel­op­ment of a vac­cine against COVID19, in 2020 the Com­pa­ny au­tho­rized the pro­vi­sion of per­son­al and home se­cu­ri­ty ser­vices to cer­tain of our NEOs,” the re­port stat­ed.

That $1 mil­lion in se­cu­ri­ty fees rounds out Ban­cel’s $13 mil­lion pay as Mod­er­na CEO. Around $9 mil­lion of that came in stock op­tions, while more than $945,000 was tot­ted up for salary and $1.9 mil­lion for a bonus.

In Ju­ly, Reuters re­port­ed that Chi­nese gov­ern­ment-linked hack­ers tar­get­ed Mod­er­na in a cy­ber­at­tack, in an at­tempt to steal da­ta. The US Jus­tice De­part­ment pub­li­cized an in­dict­ment of 2 sus­pects ac­cused of spy­ing on the US, in­clud­ing 3 un­named tar­gets in­volved in med­ical re­search to fight the virus. Mod­er­na con­firmed to Reuters that the com­pa­ny had been made aware of the sus­pect­ed hack­ing ac­tiv­i­ties by the FBI.

Chi­nese of­fi­cials have re­ject­ed the claims as base­less. Re­ports that Rus­sia al­so has tried to steal Covid-19 vac­cines and ther­a­peu­tics re­search in the US, UK and Cana­da al­so came out in Ju­ly from Britain’s Na­tion­al Cy­ber Se­cu­ri­ty Cen­tre. That re­port al­so did not spec­i­fy which groups had been tar­get­ed, but The Tele­graph re­port­ed that the teams in­volved in the As­traZeneca vac­cine had been sub­jects of the at­tack.

Has the mo­ment fi­nal­ly ar­rived for val­ue-based health­care?

RBC Capital Markets’ Healthcare Technology Analyst, Sean Dodge, spotlights a new breed of tech-enabled providers who are rapidly transforming the way clinicians deliver healthcare, and explores the key question: can this accelerating revolution overturn the US healthcare system?

Key points

Tech-enabled healthcare providers are poised to help the US transition to value, not volume, as the basis for reward.
The move to value-based care has policy momentum, but is risky and complex for clinicians.
Outsourced tech specialists are emerging to provide the required expertise, while healthcare and tech are also converging through M&A.
Value-based care remains in its early stages, but the transition is accelerating and represents a huge addressable market.

Clay Siegall, Morphimmune CEO

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Clay Siegall will be back in the CEO seat, taking the helm of a private startup working on targeted cancer therapies.

It’s been almost a year since Siegall resigned from Seagen, the biotech he co-founded and led for more than 20 years, in the wake of domestic violence allegations by his then-wife. His eventual successor, David Epstein, sold the company to Pfizer in a $43 billion deal unveiled last week.

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No­vo Nordisk oral semaglu­tide tri­al shows re­duc­tion in blood sug­ar, plus weight loss

Novo Nordisk is testing higher levels of its oral version of its GLP-1, semaglutide, and its type 2 diabetes trial results released today show reductions in blood sugar as well as weight loss.

In the Phase IIIb trial, Novo compared its oral semaglutide in 25 mg and 50 mg doses with the 14 mg version that’s currently the maximum approved dose. The trial looked at how the doses compared when added to a stable dose of one to three oral antidiabetic medicines in people with type 2 diabetes who were in need of an intensified treatment.

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Ly­me vac­cine test com­ple­tion is pushed back by a year as Pfiz­er, Val­ne­va say they'll ad­just tri­al

Valneva and Pfizer have adjusted the end date for the Phase III study of their investigational Lyme disease vaccine, pushing it back by a year after issues at a contract researcher led to thousands of US patients being dropped from the test.

In a March 20 update to, Valneva and Pfizer moved the primary completion date on the trial, called VALOR, from the end of 2024 to the end of 2025.

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Stuart Peltz, former PTC Therapeutics CEO

Stu­art Peltz re­signs as PTC Ther­a­peu­tics CEO af­ter 25 years

Stuart Peltz, the longtime CEO of PTC Therapeutics who’s led the rare disease drug developer since its founding 25 years ago, is stepping down.

Succeeding him in the top job is Matthew Klein, who joined PTC in 2019 and was promoted to chief operating officer in 2022. In a call with analysts, he said the CEO transition has been planned for “quite some time” — in fact, as part of it, he gave the company’s presentation at the JP Morgan healthcare conference earlier this year.

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Bet­ter Ther­a­peu­tics cuts 35% of staff while await­ing dig­i­tal ther­a­peu­tic ap­proval

Digital therapeutics company Better Therapeutics announced on Thursday that it’s cutting 35% of its staff as it awaits FDA clearance for its first product.

The company, which launched eight years ago, is one of a growing group of companies seeking a digital alternative to traditional medicine. The space saw a record $7.5 billion in investments in 2021, according to Chris Dokomajilar at DealForma, with uses spanning ADHD, PTSD and other indications. However, private insurers have been slow to hop on board.

FDA ad­vi­sors unan­i­mous­ly rec­om­mend ac­cel­er­at­ed ap­proval for Bio­gen's ALS drug

A panel of outside advisors to the FDA unanimously recommended that the agency grant accelerated approval to Biogen’s ALS drug tofersen despite the drug failing the primary goal of its Phase III study, an endorsement that could pave a path forward for the treatment.

By a 9-0 vote, members of the Peripheral and Central Nervous System Drugs Advisory Committee said there was sufficient evidence that tofersen’s effect on a certain protein associated with ALS is reasonably likely to predict a benefit for patients. But panelists stopped short of advocating for a full approval, voting 3-5 against (with one abstention) and largely citing the failed pivotal study.

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Eu­ro­pean doc­tors di­al up dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tion with phar­mas, but still lean to­ward in-per­son med meet­ings, study finds

As in-person sales rep access declines in the big five European countries, a corresponding uptick in virtual rep access is happening. It’s not surprising, but it does run counter to pharma companies’ assessment – along with long-held sales rep sway in Europe – that in-person access hadn’t changed.

CMI Media Group and Medscape’s recent study reports that 75% of physicians in the EU5 countries of Spain, Germany, Italy, France and the UK already limit engagements with pharma sales reps, and 25% of those surveyed plan to decrease time with reps.

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Judge al­lows ex­pert tes­ti­mo­ny in GSK tri­al al­leg­ing Zan­tac link to can­cer

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The order was handed down on Thursday from state judge Evelio Grillo, who is now allowing both parties to introduce expert testimony in an upcoming trial after what’s known as a Sargon hearing, where a judge determines the admissibility of expert witnesses and expert opinions.