Moderna’s chairman, Noubar Afeyan

WASHINGTON, DC — At least three people with a stake in the coronavirus vaccine race have just made a list of the top 400 richest people in America, The Washington Times reports.

Moderna’s chairman, Noubar Afeyan, one of the U.S. biotech company’s founders; along with board member Robert Langer, also a co-founder; and early investor Timothy Springer each made their debut in this year’s tally produced by business magazine Forbes.

The trio each own a stake in the biotech company, which saw its shares soar last year and which — along with U.S. drug giant Pfizer and German partner BioNTech — logged billions of dollars in vaccine sales as the virus spread. U.S. firm Johnson & Johnson and Europe’s AstraZeneca say they don’t plan to profit from their shots during the pandemic.

For its rankings, Forbes estimated the fortune of Afeyan, the Moderna chairman, to be nearly $5 billion. The engineer, who was born in Beirut to Armenian parents and left during Lebanon’s civil war, has helped found many other companies.

The net worth estimates — which Forbes put out Tuesday based on stock prices from September, SEC documents and other records — stood at $4.9 billion for Langer, an MIT scientist who has hundreds of patents. It calculated $5.9 billion for Springer, a Harvard immunologist who put in millions when the company was founded in 2010.
More than 152 million doses of Moderna’s shot have been administered in the United States since it first was authorized last year. It’s one of three coronavirus vaccines that health workers are administering in the country, and it has sold doses to European countries and Canada as well.

The Cambridge, Mass., company’s technology, based on messenger RNA, made it the first company to test its coronavirus vaccine in a human. The swift response also gave it a boost in the markets. At the same time, it has faced rebuke, for selling early doses to the countries that could bid the highest, and questions about its surging stock price generating wealth for investors.

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