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Former US govt vaccine chief exits two drug developers after GSK harassment claim

Former US govt vaccine chief exits two drug developers after GSK harassment claim

FILE PHOTO: Moncef Slaoui adjusts his protective face mask after speaking at a coronavirus disease response event in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 15, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

REUTERS -Former Operation Warp Speed head Moncef Slaoui stepped down from his positions at two drug developers on Thursday, a day after he was dismissed from a firm controlled by GlaxoSmithKline on allegations of sexual harassment toward a GSK employee.

He resigned as chairman of U.S. vaccine developer Vaxcyte Inc following a company request and quit Centessa Pharmaceuticals, which named him chief scientific officer at the newly-formed company last month.

Slaoui did not respond to a request for comment on LinkedIn on his resignations from the two companies.

He had on Wednesday night acknowledged his dismissal from Galvani Bioelectronics, a GSK-controlled firm, and issued an apology to the employee.

"I am deeply sorry for any distress caused. I would also like to apologize to my wife and family for the pain this is causing," Slaoui said in a statement.

He was appointed the head of the U.S. government's COVID-19 vaccine development program by former U.S. President Donald Trump last year and has held top positions at several drugmakers, including GSK.

The British drugmaker said an investigation into his conduct, performed on its behalf by an independent law firm, had substantiated allegations of harassment and inappropriate contact.

The probe, which is ongoing, was the result of a letter received by GSK containing allegations of inappropriate conduct toward a company employee years ago.

Slaoui joined Vaxcyte's board in July 2017 and became chairman in May 2018. He is also a partner at investment firm Medicxi.

(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

Source: Reuters

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