Topping the list of new billionaires are Modern ( CEO Stéphane Bancel and Ugur Sahin, CEO of )BioNTech (, who produced a vaccine with )Pfizer (. The two CEOs are now worth around $ 4 billion, according to an analysis by the People’s Vaccine Alliance, a campaign group that includes Oxfam, UNAIDS, Global Justice Now and Amnesty International. )
Top executives at CanSino Biologics in China and early Moderna investors have also become billionaires on paper as stocks have soared, in part in anticipation of profits from Covid vaccines, which also bodes well for future prospects for companies. The analysis was compiled using data from the Forbes Rich List.
Moderna’s stock price has gained more than 700% since February 2020, while BioNTech has jumped 600%. CanSino Biologics’ inventory increased by approximately 440% over the same period. The company’s single-dose Covid-19 vaccine was approved for use in China in February.
Activists said the wealth creation highlighted the severe inequality that has resulted from the pandemic. The nine new billionaires are worth a total of $ 19.3 billion, enough to fully immunize some 780 million people in low-income countries, the activists said.
The report coincides with the G20 World Health Summit to be held on Friday, at which world leaders are expected to discuss relinquishing intellectual property rights to vaccines.
US President Joe Biden has backed the initiative, which his supporters say will help expand the global supply and narrow the immunization gap between rich and poor countries. Opponents, such as Germany, have argued that intellectual property protection is vital for innovation and argue that removing patents will not significantly increase supply due to limited production capacity and insufficient vaccine components.
According to the World Health Organization, 87% of vaccine doses went to high-income and upper-middle-income countries, while low-income countries only received 0.2%. In an article published Friday, IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath said vaccinating 60% of the world’s population by mid-2022 would cost just $ 50 billion.
Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, told Friday’s health summit that the company will deliver 2 billion doses of its vaccine to low- and middle-income countries over the next 18 months. Pfizer expects its vaccine sales to total around $ 26 billion by the end of this year, with a profit margin approaching 30%.
Bourla has defended the decision to take advantage of the vaccine, saying his company takes all the risk of developing it and has invested up to $ 2 billion in research and development.
Billions of vaccines
BioNTech, which has received 325 million euros ($ 397 million) from the German government for vaccine development, said it is committed to providing its vaccine to low-income countries at cost. “We all know that no one will be safe until everyone is safe,” the company added.
In a statement shared with CNN Business, he said complex manufacturing processes and the time required to build new factories were among the main obstacles to increasing the global vaccine supply. “Patents are not the limiting factor,” he said.
BioNTech made a net profit of 1.1 billion euros ($ 1.3 billion) in the first three months of the year, largely thanks to its share of sales of the Covid-19 vaccine, compared to a loss of 53.4 million euros ($ 75.9 million) for the same period last year.
Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine sales reached $ 1.7 billion in the first three months of this year and it enjoyed its first profitable quarter, the company reported earlier this month. Goldman Sachs ( expects Moderna to achieve $ 13.2 billion in revenue from the Covid-19 vaccine in 2021. The company has received billions of dollars in funding from the US government for the development of its vaccine. )
CanSino Biologics and Moderna did not respond to a request for comment. In a statement last month, Bancel said Moderna was willing to cede its intellectual property to other companies “for the post-pandemic period.”
AstraZeneca (, who produced a vaccine with researchers at the University of Oxford, has agreed to provide doses at cost until at least July 2021, and in perpetuity to low- and middle-income countries. )Johnson & Johnson ( also said he would provide his vaccine on a not-for-profit basis, as long as the world continued to suffer from the pandemic. )
-— Chris Isidore and Naomi Thomas contributed reporting.