The corona crisis has benefited many doctors, scientists, and entrepreneurs in the health sector. An analysis by the business magazine Forbes shows that. They saw their bank accounts rise well above the billion this year. It was striking that it was mainly in China – where the virus first appeared – that the till rang.
Africans do not appear in the list, but there are some well-known names in it. These include scientists and entrepreneurs behind companies that have developed successful vaccines, such as BioNTech and Moderna, but also producers of medicines and medical equipment. An overview.
These scientists and entrepreneurs became billionaire due to the corona crisis
1. Li Juanquan ($7.8 billion)
The list of new billionaires is headed by Li Juanquan (63). He is the founder and boss of Winner Medical, a company that produces surgical face masks and dressings and is located in Shenzhen’s Chinese metropolis.
Winner Medical supplies 40,000 pharmacies and 2,000 hospitals all over China. The company also exports to more than seventy countries around the world.
Winner Medical was founded in 1991 and was listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in September of this year. Li is said to own 68 percent of the shares, according to business magazine Bloomberg.
2. Ye Xiaoping ($4.7 billion)
During the corona crisis, money could also be made with consulting. The proof of this is the Chinese Ye Xiaoping (57). He is the man behind Hangzhou Tigermed Consulting, one of China’s most extensive research firms operating in the pharmaceutical industry.
The company offers its services worldwide and focuses primarily on technology for clinical testing, data management, and statistical analysis.
3. Jian Jun ($4.4 billion)
The third place in the list is for a woman. The Chinese Jian Jun (57) has been in charge of Imeik Technology Development, which makes and distributes biomedical products, since 2016.
These include medical devices, sodium hyaluronate (contained in eye drops), and collagen (which keeps our skin elastic).
Like Winner Medical, Imeik Technology Development was also listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in September. That IPO brought in $48 million in one fell swoop.
4. Yuan Liping ($4.4 billion)
Also, in fourth place, we find a woman: Yuan Liping (49). In June, after divorcing her husband, she became a billionaire, ‘vaccine emperor’, and billionaire Du Weimin. Yuan was given a 24 percent stake in Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products, the company her ex heads.
Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products is one of the major vaccine manufacturers in China. It is the only one there that is allowed to produce the vaccine from AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, good for 200 million doses. Since the beginning of the year, the company’s stock has grown 90 percent.
Yuan herself was a manager and director in the company from 2012 to 2015. Since March 2017, she is the manager and director at subsidiary Beijing Minhai Biotechnology. Yuan resides in the Chinese city of Shenzhen but is a Canadian national. She is now Canada’s richest woman.
5. Ugur Sahin ($4.0 billion)
Doctor Uğur Şahin (55) is CEO of the German biotechnology company BioNTech and the man behind the first valid corona vaccine. Born in Turkey, he migrated as a child to Germany, where he studied medicine. In 2008, he founded BioNTech with his wife Ozlem Tureci (53) – a physician and immunologist.
In the spring, BioNTech and the American pharmaceutical company Pfizer joined forces to develop a corona vaccine. That came about in a record time of ten months.
BioNTech provided the technology, while Pfizer largely financed everything. On November 9, Pfizer announced that their vaccine was 90 percent effective, which was revised to 95 percent a week later. The first approved dose was administered in the United Kingdom on December 8.
Sahin owns 17 percent of the shares of BioNTech, which went public in October last year. Since January, the stock’s value has increased by 160 percent, making the CEO an instant billionaire. His assets are currently $4.0 billion. Wife Ozlem TUreci earned nothing from it. She is the company’s chief medical officer but does not own any stock.
6. Stéphane Bancel ($4.0 billion)
Frenchman Stéphane Bancel (47) has been CEO of the American biotechnology company Moderna Therapeutics since 2011. That, too, developed a successful corona vaccine, with an effectiveness of 95 percent. Moderna was the first company to initiate clinical trials with a candidate corona vaccine in humans. They started on March 16 in Seattle. However, BioNTech was able to complete its research more quickly.
Moderna’s vaccine was second approved for emergency use in the United States on December 18 and is expected to receive a green light in Europe soon.
Bancel currently owns 6 percent of the shares of Moderna, which went public in December 2018. He still held 9 percent in March, but when shares had risen 550 percent since the beginning of this year, he sold more than a million.
Moderna also made two more billionaires this year: Harvard University professor and immunologist Timothy Springer and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professor Robert Langer. They were some of the company’s first investors. Springer invested $4.3 million in 2010. His 3.6 percent shares are now worth 1.5 billion dollars, bringing his total assets to 1.8 billion dollars. Langer bought 3 percent of Moderna’s shares in 2010, and they are now worth $1.5 billion.
In total, Forbes found 50 brand new billionaires in the healthcare sector. Notable names also include Carl Hansen (from biotech company AbCallera, which develops treatments against diseases based on antibodies), Sergio Stevanato (from the second-largest producer of glass ampoules in the world, including for storing dozens of corona vaccines) and Premchand Godha (from the drug manufacturer behind the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which came into the picture this year for the treatment of the coronavirus but eventually turned out to have no effect).
The majority of the new billionaires are from China: 28 of the 50 new rich in total.