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COVID Profiteers, Moderna Founders Added To Forbes Billionaire List

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At least three people with a stake in the COVID-19 vaccine have just been listed among the top 400 richest people in America.

Moderna’s chairman, Noubar Afeyan, one of the founders of the U.S. biotech company made his debut on Forbes’ list of the 400 wealthiest Americans.

Board member Robert Langer, also a co-founder of the biotech company, and early investor Timothy Springer each made their debut in this year’s list, as well.

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 — accounted for billions of dollars in vaccine sales as the virus spread, the Washington Post reports. U.S. firm Johnson & Johnson and Europe’s AstraZeneca say they don’t plan to profit from their shots during the pandemic.

The net worth estimates — that Forbes published 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 patent, the Post reports. It calculated $5.9 billion for Springer, a Harvard immunologist who put in millions when the company was founded in 2010.

Despite the pandemic’s economic toll, the 400 richest Americans this year are collectively 40% richer than last year’s ultrarich, making the cutoff to get on the list higher than ever, according to the business magazine.

With 44 new names, the list featured the most new names it has had since 2007, many of them billionaires in finance, tech and health care — and a minimum net worth of $2.9 billion, up $800 million from a year ago.

Screenshot of the top 10 on the Forbes 400.

The full list of the 400 wealthiest Americans who saw their collective fortune increase can be seen here.

Written by Meg Turner

Meg graduated from the University of Central Florida and writes and tweets about anything related to sports. She replies to comments she shouldn't reply to online and thinks the CFP Rankings are absolutely rigged. Follow her on Twitter at @Megnturner_ and Instagram at @Megnturner.

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