Moderna Inc (NASDAQ:MRNA) recently revealed that the preliminary results of its coronavirus vaccine trial have yielded positive results leading to a surge in its stock price, but the announcement also yielded some criticism.
The U.S-based biotech revealed that the initial results of its coronavirus vaccine were promising. This was enough to encourage positive sentiments regarding the stock’s performance on Wall Street. However, it also provoked criticism as the company was accused of using the announcement to jack up its stock price.
Critics believe that the company is using the information to boost its stock performance, and some have even called for an investigation, citing market manipulation. The company reportedly sold about 17.6 million of its shares at $76 per share, hours after the company announced the promising preliminary findings from the COVID-19 vaccine trials. To put it to perspective, the company’s share price was $48, which means the company managed to raise roughly $1.3 billion. This move raised eyebrows, with some believing that the company illegally took advantage.
A former official of the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission believes that the company’s actions warrant an investigation. This is not the only incident that has shed the spotlight on the company for potentially illegal practices. Two of the company’s executives, the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Financial Officer, reportedly sold their shares reportedly worth $30 million on May 18 and May 19. The executives have been accused of insider trading since they sold the shares at a time when they were aware that the trial findings would favor the stock performance.
However, the stock sales were carried out through automated insider-trading plans called 10b5-1 plans. Companies use such plans you shield their executives against insider trading accusations. Interestingly, the stock price plummeted not long after the share sales. However, it still retains upside potential, especially thanks to investors expecting the company to profit from the coronavirus vaccine sales once it is deployed into the market. Moderna is one of the companies spearheading the search for a coronavirus vaccine and one of the most promising yet.