The development and rollout of COVID-19 vaccines has minted at least nine new billionaires in the pharma industry, whose new combined wealth is enough to buy shots for a staggering 780 million people in low-income nations.
Nine executives from Moderna, BioNTech, ROVI and CanSino Biologics have hugely profited from the pandemic that has so far killed 3.4 million people worldwide, as their individual wealth soared past the billion-dollar mark over the last year.
The rich list was compiled by the People’s Vaccine Alliance, a campaign group that includes Oxfam, UNAIDS, Global Justice Now and Amnesty International, using the Forbes Rich List.
Topping the list is the CEO of Moderna Stéphane Bancel who is now worth a whopping $4.3 billion after his company became the second to be granted emergency use authorization in the US for its vaccine back in December.
CEO and co-founder of BioNTech Ugur Sahin is close behind with a wealth of $4 billion, following its collaboration on a vaccine with Pfizer.
Other Moderna execs have also profited, with immunologist and early investor Timothy Springer now worth $2.2 billion, Chairman Noubar Afeyan $1.9 billion and scientist and founding investor Robert Langer $1.6 billion.
Senior executives from CanSino Biologics have also become billionaires over the last year with the Chinese firm’s co-founder and chief scientific officer Zhu Tao now worth $1.3 billion, co-founder and Senior Vice President QiuDongxu worth $1.2 billion and co-founder and Senior Vice President Mao Huinhoa $1 billion.
CanSino has developed a one-shot vaccine that was approved for use in China this February.
The ninth newfound billionaire is ROVI Chairman Juan Lopez-Belmonte, who is now worth $1.8 billion. Spanish contract drugmaker Rovi makes bottles for Moderna’s vaccine and last month reached a new deal to start making its active ingredients.
Together, the industry’s nine new billionaires are worth $19.3 billion.
This is a combined net wealth greater than what it would cost to vaccinate the world’s poorest nations.
With the average vaccine costing $19 and 775,710,612 people living in low-income countries, according to UN data, this money would be enough to vaccinate every person 1.3 times, the alliance said.
As well as the new billionaire set, the pandemic has also seen the rich get richer.
Eight existing billionaires with big stakes in the pharma companies behind the COVID-19 vaccines have seen their combined wealth increase by a staggering $32.2 billion, the research found.
This wealth would be enough to fully vaccinate everyone in India.
This is an excerpt from Daily Mail.
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