Moderna CEO says private investors funded COVID vaccine—not billions from gov’t

Enlarge / Moderna pharmaceutical and biotechnology company’s CEO Stephane Bancel speaks during a session of the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos on January 18, 2023. (credit: Getty | Fabrice COFFRINI)

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel on Monday pushed back on criticism of the company’s plans to raise the price of its mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines by 400 percent, arguing that the billions of dollars in federal funding the company received played little role in the vaccine’s development.

Speaking at the Wall Street Journal Health Forum, Bancel suggested that the vaccine’s development is thanks to private investors and that the federal funding merely hastened development that would have occurred regardless. The comments came in response to a question of whether the company has a “moral obligation” to give back to the taxpayers who helped develop the life-saving immunization—presumably by not dramatically hiking the vaccine’s price as it moves from federal distribution to the commercial market this year.

While the government most recently paid $26 per dose for Moderna’s updated booster dose, the company is planning to raise the price of its shots to $110 to $130 per dose.

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