Billionaire Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel Pledges Stock Options Worth $355 Million To Undisclosed Charitable Causes
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Topline

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel, a veteran biotech executive whose fortune swelled during the Covid-19 pandemic, on Tuesday revealed he would donate all the after-tax proceeds from his original Moderna stock options—worth about $355 million—to charity over the next year.

Key Facts

In a regulatory filing on Tuesday, Bancel disclosed he would exercise stock options, originally granted in 2013 and set to expire in August 2023, to acquire nearly 4.6 million shares at a price of $0.99 apiece, a nearly 100% discount to current prices of about $138.

Bancel, who joined Moderna in 2011, said in an accompanying blog post the donated shares would amount to roughly $355 million at current prices—after deducting about $280 million in state and federal tax payments.

To avoid a large-scale transaction that potentially impacts the price of Moderna shares, Bancel said he would set up a trading plan in which he exercises 80,000 shares each week, beginning on Wednesday, until the options are fully exercised around June of next year.

In the blog, Bancel wrote that his Jesuit background motivated the planned donations by instilling in him the “powerful idea” of servant leadership, or “existing to serve a greater good.”

Bancel, 49, did not state which specific causes or charities his donations would support, and Moderna spokespeople did not immediately respond to Forbes’ requests for comment.

Surprising Fact

As part of a trading plan, Bancel has sold more than 2 million shares—worth over $400 million—during the pandemic.

Key Background

Founded in 2010, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna spent nearly a decade developing the technology for its messenger RNA vaccines, which tell the body to produce part of a pathogen to trigger an immune response—unlike traditional vaccines that instead use a piece of the pathogen. Once the pandemic hit, the company doubled down on the efforts and filed for an emergency use authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine in November 2020. The shots have proven to be a massive boon for Moderna, but its shares have struggled this year as critics increasingly question whether or not sales of Covid-19 vaccines alone will prove a viable revenue stream in years to come. The stock has plunged 69% from an all-time high set in September.

Big Number

$4.6 billion. That’s approximately how much Bancel, a French native who owns a roughly 8% stake in Moderna, is worth, according to Forbes. Before Moderna stock plunged, Bancel was at one point worth more than $12 billion.

Further Reading

Moderna Stock Crash: Losses Top $140 Billion As Insiders Sell Millions Of Dollars In Shares (Forbes)

Moderna Finance Chief Steps Down After Two Years—But Lands Deal For $42 Million Stock Options (Forbes)

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