(路透社2021-06-04 獨家報導 全文中英對照稿)
WASHINGTON, June 4 (Reuters) - Erik Prince, the founder of controversial private military firm Blackwater and a supporter of former President Donald Trump, jumped into the COVID-19 business late last year with a deal to distribute an experimental vaccine should it be approved, according to three people familiar with the arrangement and business records seen by Reuters.
路透社2021年6月4日華盛頓報導 — 普林斯（Erik Prince）是頗具爭議性的私人軍火公司「黑水」的創辦人，也是美國前總統川普的擁護者。根據路透社訪問過，熟悉黑水公司運作與交易紀錄的三位人士，普林斯從去年下半年起，也躍入新冠疫苗的商圈，企圖掌握一支目前尚在實驗階段的疫苗，以便未來若取得認證後，得以擁有銷售權。
The COVID-19 vaccine, known as UB-612, is being developed by a privately-held U.S. firm called COVAXX.
The company has said the vaccine shows promise in protecting people against coronavirus, based on a small study of 60 patients in Taiwan. It hasn't provided data on safety and efficacy from large clinical trials, information that is usually required before a vaccine is authorized for public use.
COVAXX is unrelated to the similar-sounding but better-known "COVAX," a global vaccine distribution program backed by the World Health Organization.
Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, the COVAXX vaccine has attracted some big-name backers, including endorsements from entrepreneur Peter Diamandis, who co-founded the company, and motivational speaker Tony Robbins. In March, the company raised $1.35 billion in a private placement, according to U.S. securities filings.
從2020年新冠疫情逐漸升高開始，這支COVAXX 疫苗就吸引了一些重量級人士的支持，包含來自創業家彼得戴曼迪斯 （Peter Diamandis，該公司的共同創辦人）以及勵志演說家羅賓斯（Tony Robbins）的背書。根據他們三月向美國證券交易委員會所提交的文件，那時該公司已經私募了13.5億美金。
Prince's involvement in vaccine distribution, which has not been previously reported, sheds new light on the race to profit from the uncertainties of the pandemic. Vaccine supply deals have often been forged through direct government ties to drugmakers, global health organizations or diplomatic channels.
Reuters couldn't determine how Prince first became associated with COVAXX, or whether he has brokered any vaccine supply deals.
Prince did not respond to questions for this story. A source close to Prince said that "Erik has been helping a vaccine manufacturer set up distribution," but declined to give details.
Diane Murphy, a public relations consultant for Vaxxinity Inc, which owns COVAXX, declined to answer questions related to Prince. In a statement to Reuters, she said that the company has "accepted introductions from a variety of private, public and non-profit intermediaries, both formally and informally."
COVAXX 母公司Vaxxinity 公司的公關顧問墨菲（暫譯， Diane Murphy）拒絕回答與普林斯有關的提問。她只在對路透社發表的一張紙上聲明中說，該公司已經「正式或非正式地，與一些來自私人、政府或非營利機構的中間人有了初步的接觸。」
'DOLLARS PER DOSE'
Prince has made headlines for years, first as chief executive of Blackwater, whose security guards fatally shot more than a dozen Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in 2007. After he left Blackwater, Prince pushed to privatize the war in Afghanistan by having contractors fight instead of the U.S. military and became embroiled in an investigation into possible collusion between the Trump election campaign and the Russian government.
Prince sought to recruit a close associate, the late Paul Behrends, a former Republican congressional staffer and lobbyist who represented Blackwater for over two years, to help in the COVAXX project.
普林斯本想招募已故的親密夥伴布倫茲（暫譯，Paul Behrends）協助COVAXX 計畫，因為布倫茲曾在共和黨眾議院中擔任幕僚，並為黑水公司遊說超過兩年。
In a series of text messages to Behrends, Prince described the potential for profit from selling the vaccines.
"There's room for a couple dollars per dose in commissions," Prince said in a Nov. 9 text to Behrends. He shared with Behrends a "Letter of Authorization" on COVAXX letterhead signed by senior vice president Brandon Schurter as proof of his distribution deal. Schurter did not respond to requests for comment.
The October 2020 letter said that an entity called Windward Capital, with an address in Abu Dhabi, was authorized to "assist in the process of creating distribution networks." Reuters could not find a Windward Capital registered in Abu Dhabi. But a company called Windward Holdings that handles "professional, scientific and technical activities" is listed there, with Erik Prince the sole named shareholder.
在該封寫於2020年10月的信中，普林斯宣稱已經在阿布扎比成立了一家名為「Windward 資產」的公司，被授權來「協助建立銷售網」。路透社無法在阿布扎比找到一間註冊為「Windward 資產」的公司，但找到了一間名為「Windward 控股」，目標在「處理專業方面、科學方面與技術方面活動」的公司，並且普林斯是該公司唯一掛名的股東。
Prince is also the managing member of a corporate entity called Windward Wyoming LLC, which says it has a "global distribution" deal with COVAXX, according to records of non-public business agreements seen by Reuters. The company was formed in October 2020, public incorporation records in Wyoming show.
Lawyers and other officials affiliated with the various Windward entities did not respond to requests for comment.
Prince and Behrends were negotiating how to carve up prospective sales territories by country, said Barry Angeline, a friend of Behrends. But their possible collaboration was cut short in December, when Behrends died.
Vaxxinity consultant Murphy told Reuters the company has a "focus on the developing market" – including the many countries that have been unable to acquire the shots made by global drugmakers and stockpiled by wealthier nations.
Vaxxinity 的顧問墨菲告訴路透社，該公司「專注於開發中國家的市場」— 包含那些無法透過全球製藥廠得到疫苗，或被富有國家囤積，以致無法取得疫苗的國家。
COVAXX was formed in early 2020 as a subsidiary of United Biomedical Inc (UBI), a maker of diagnostic tests and veterinary vaccines, to address the coronavirus pandemic. In April, the company announced it was being consolidated into a new holding corporation called Vaxxinity.
COVAXX的母公司United Biomedical Inc (UBI)公司，原本是製造檢驗試劑及動物疫苗的，於2020年初期分出子公司COVAXX，以對抗新冠疫情。四月時，該官司宣布被合併進入一家新的控股公司，名為Vaxxinity.
COVAXX's backers were quick to publicize the vaccine's potential beginning in July, based on early tests in animals, and before the first clinical trials in people began in Taiwan.
Diamandis, who is listed as a co-founder of Vaxxinity, wrote in a July 30 post on his personal blog that the vaccine was safe for patients and likely effective in the elderly. He told Reuters he made it clear in those posts that his assertions were based on previous trial results of other vaccines developed by the company.
A few weeks later, Robbins, the self-help coach, held a webinar promoting COVAXX titled "The most powerful vaccine you've never heard of." Robbins said in the video that he was one of the company owners. "I've invested in the company, so everyone knows. Because I've been blown away by seeing these results," he said.
Robbins "remains an investor," his spokeswoman Jennifer Connelly said in a statement to Reuters. She added, "Mr. Robbins is not involved in the management or daily operations."
羅賓斯的女發言人康納莉（暫譯，Jennifer Connelly ）在一篇給路透社的聲明中說「羅賓斯直到如今仍然是該公司的一位投資者，但他並未參與該公司日常的運作管理。」
In October, COVAXX and shipping giant Maersk announced a partnership to provide global transport of the vaccine as soon as it becomes available. The Maersk official quoted in the release, Rob Townley, said the company recognized the urgent need to safely deliver COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.
COVAXX 和全球航運巨擘「快桅」公司於十月宣布合夥，將在疫苗上市後，以最快速度供應至全球。「快桅」公司的塔利（暫譯，Rob Townley）並在該聲明中說該公司認知到當務之急乃是將新冠疫苗安全運至全球各地。
Townley was briefly an aide to former U.S. Army general Michael Flynn during Flynn's short tenure as Trump's National Security Adviser. In an interview, Townley said he knows Prince but couldn't discuss Prince's involvement.
Data on how well the vaccine works is still pending. In an email to Reuters, Vaxxinity’s Murphy said the company had completed the Phase 1 trial of 60 volunteers aged 20 to 55 in Taiwan, and is conducting a new study of 3,800 people there, including teens and elderly participants. The company plans larger trials in Brazil and India later this year.
Reporting by Aram Roston in Washington and Lisa Barrington in Abu Dhabi; Editing by Michele Gershberg
以上由在華盛頓的Aram Roston，以及在阿布札比的Lisa Barrington報導，由 Michele Gershberg編輯
EXCLUSIVE Blackwater founder Prince takes role in COVID vaccine venture | Reuters