5 things to know about Moncef Slaoui, head of Operation Warp Speed

Moncef Slaoui, PhD, was named chief advisor of the government's Operation Warp Speed program, designed to shorten the amount of time it takes to bring a COVID-19 vaccine to market. 

Five things to know about Dr. Slaoui: 

  1. He spent 30 years working for GlaxoSmithKline and oversaw vaccine development for eight years. He's been a venture capitalist since leaving GlaxoSmithKline in 2017, according to The New York Times.

  2. He has a doctorate in molecular biology and immunology and studied at Harvard Medical School as well as Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston.

  3. During his time at GlaxoSmithKline, he oversaw a few deals that one pharma industry veteran told Politico were "three of the worst deals in drug industry history," because none generated much reward for GlaxoSmithKline. The deals included its 2008 purchase of Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, sale of its entire oncology business to Novartis and the $3 billion acquisition of Human Genome Sciences in 2012, according to Politico.

  4. Dr. Slaoui has said that developing and mass-producing a successful vaccine by 2021 is a "credible objective," but that it will be difficult, according to the Times.

  5. Patient advocates have warned that Dr. Slaoui has "blatant conflicts of interest" because he sits on the board of multiple vaccine developers, including Moderna, Politico reported. Dr. Slaoui told the Times he has informed Moderna he plans to retire from its board and suggested he was divesting his equity. 

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