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Moderna's founders make their debut on the Forbes top 400 richest people in America list after cashi tive_share_article-masthead

Moderna's founders make their debut on the Forbes top 400 richest people in America list after cashing in on the pandemic with COVID vaccine

  • Moderna co-founders Noubar Afeyan and Robert Langer and early investor Timothy Springer all made Forbes' richest people in America list this year

  • Afeyan, Moderna's current chairman, is worth about $5billion, Langer is worth $4.9billion and Springer, who put millions into the company, has $5.9billion

  • Despite the economic toll of the pandemic, the 400 richest people in America are collectively 40 percent richer than 2020's Forbes class

  • The list featured the most new names since 2007 - most were billionaires in finance, tech and health care

  • More than 152 million doses of Moderna's COVID vaccine - one of three approved options - have been administered

Three billionaires with stakes in Moderna - co-founders Noubar Afeyan and Robert Langer, and investor Timothy Springer - made it onto Forbes' list of the 400 richest Americans this year after their company put out one of three FDA-approved COVID vaccines.

Each of the men is worth over $3.5billion, and they were added to Forbes' list on Tuesday based on SEC documents, stock prices from September and other financial records.

Since Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, 152 million doses have been administered. The company was the first to test the vaccine on human subjects, further boosting its stock value.

Although the pandemic destroyed hundreds of millions of jobs worldwide, the 400 richest people in the country saw their fortunes grow by a collective 40 percent, according to Forbes.

The publication's latest list featured the most new names since 2007, most of them in the finance, tech and health care industries.

Moderna, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts has been rebuked for selling early doses of their RNA-based vaccine to the countries that bid the highest and for the extreme wealth that has been generated by its investors.

However, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel has said he expects vaccines to become available to 'everyone on Earth' next year.

Along with competing vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and their German partner BioNTech, the company raked in billions of dollars in vaccine sales. Johnson & Johnson and Europe's Astrozeneca said they don't intend to profit from their vaccines.

Afeyan, 59, Moderna's current chairman, ranked 212th with a net worth about $3.7 billion as of October 6, according to Forbes. The engineer, who was born in Beirut to Armenian parents, moved to Montreal during Lebanon's civil war in 1975.

He has helped start more than 70 life sciences and technology businesses, and owns shares in 12 publicly-traded biotech companies, according to Forbes.

Springer invested $5million in Moderna at its onset, and now owns 3.5 percent of the company's shares. Presently, the Harvard Medical School professor is worth $4.4 billion, and is ranked 176 on the list. He owns shares in three smaller biotech firms: Selecta Biosciences, Scholar Rock and Morphic Therapeutic.

Langer, number 222 on the list, owns 3 percent of Moderna's shares and has never sold one. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor is worth $3.5 billion. He owns shares in SQZ Biotechnologies, Seer and Sigilon Therapeutics, which were founded by him and post-doctorate students from his lab.

He is thought to be the most cited engineer in history, with more than 350,000 citations. He has published more than 1,500 articles, and holds more than 1,400 patents and patent applications, more than 400 of which have been licensed by pharmacology and biotech companies.

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