Florian von der Mülbe sold the thickest package. On June 21, 2021, the co-founder of Tübingen vaccine developer Curevac sold more than half a million shares for just under $ 34 million. This emerges from documents that Mülbe filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Three other managers, CFO Pierre Kemula, CTO Mariola Fotin-Mleczek and Director of Development Ulrike Gnad-Vogt, also took advantage. Business Insider magazine first reported on these transactions, which are remarkably close to business development: The bad news at Curevac has increased in recent weeks. While millions of doses of the mRNA preparation from competitors Biontech and Moderna have already been inoculated, Curevac is falling behind – most importantly, the company in which the federal government has invested 300 million euros through state bank KfW .
At the same time, Florian von der Mülbe sold 545,091 shares with a market value of $ 33.8 million, Pierre Kemula 33,269 shares with a value of $ 2.1 million, Mariola Fotin-Mleczek 22 577 worth $ 1.4 million and Ulrike Gnad -Vogt 22,575 shares for $ 1.4 million. It is difficult to estimate how much executives made from the sale of their shares. The co-founder of Mülbe, who has been there from the start, certainly should have made a profit. As in many companies, shares are part of the remuneration of the management board. When Curevac went public, the members of the board of directors were able to convert part of their vested rights into real paper shares.
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Conversion takes place when milestones are reached, such as the IPO or the completion of clinical studies. According to the company, the right to shares, called virtual shares, is however significantly higher than the shares already converted by managers according to the annual report. A spokesperson for the company contradicted calculations that Kemula, Fotin-Mleczek and Gnad-Vogt had sold their shares almost entirely. “The majority of the claims are just not converted yet,” the spokesperson said.
A few days before the share sales, on June 16 after the close of the stock market in the United States, where the limited company registered in the Netherlands is listed, Curevac announced the interim results of clinical study 2b / 3 with its CVnCoV vaccine candidate. According to this, in a study of 40,000 people tested and against the background of “at least 13 viral variants”, it was only 47% effective. As a result, the share price collapsed. The end result of the study at the end of June was also hardly better.
The company rejects any connection between this news and sales of shares. “There is no logical causality between the transactions described and the current developments of the company at Curevac,” said a spokesperson for the company. In addition, no share disposals had taken place prior to the release of phase 2b / 3 data. This statement is meant to mean: if the board members really wanted to maximize their profits, they would have done so before the prices fell. “The members of our board of directors are always completely convinced of Curevac and our technology and devote all their energy to the further development of our company”, assures the spokesperson of the company.
Executives made their sales as a private person and reported them to the SEC according to the law, explains Curevac Justiar Marco Rau. The dates were set months in advance as part of a plan called 10b5-1. Such stock market plans would be concluded between three partners, “precisely to avoid insider trading”: between the managers, the company and a bank.