Covid-19 roundup: Har­vard sci­en­tist who in­vest­ed in Mod­er­na ear­ly be­comes a pan­dem­ic bil­lion­aire — and he's giv­ing much of the mon­ey away

Covid-19 has vault­ed a Har­vard pro­fes­sor in­to the glob­al ranks of bil­lion­aires.

Tim­o­thy Springer, the soft-spo­ken, gar­den-tend­ing, Chi­nese rock-col­lect­ing im­mu­nol­o­gist made some head­lines a cou­ple years ago when it got out that he was the 4th largest share­hold­er in Mod­er­na, a com­pa­ny that was launch­ing the largest IPO in biotech his­to­ry. Springer, who made his first for­tune from sell­ing his com­pa­ny LeukoSite to Mil­len­ni­um Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals for $100 mil­lion, had made an ear­ly $5 mil­lion in­vest­ment in the com­pa­ny in 2010 af­ter founder and fel­low Har­vard sci­en­tist Der­rick Rossi asked him for ad­vice on how to pitch to ven­ture cap­i­tal­ists, who had con­sis­tent­ly passed on his mR­NA-based idea. Even­tu­al­ly Rossi found a tak­er in Flag­ship, who want­ed to build not sim­ply a biotech but es­sen­tial­ly a new phar­ma gi­ant. Mod­er­na went pub­lic in 2018. Springer made $400 mil­lion overnight.

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