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When biotech really pays – billionaire realises massive gain from COVID vaccine

Dietmar Hopp, already one of the richest individuals in the world, has just added an additional circa billion dollars to his vast fortune thanks to the German government. 

Hopp’s various investment vehicles own at least 70% of CureVac, a German biotech company developing a vaccine for coronavirus. CureVac is at the forefront of the race for a vaccine and it’s just received €300 million of investment from the German government for a 23% stake in the business. 

That values CureVac at just under €1.4 billion, making Hopp’s stake worth close to €1 billion. 

Hopp, originally a software entrepreneur, is better known as one of the co-founders of the German technology group SAP. He’s also the biggest financial backer of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, a top-tier German football club. Forbes reckons his fortune is around $16 billion, making him one of the top 100 wealthiest individuals in the world. 

Hopp’s investments in CureVac are through dievini Hopp BioTech Holding, a biotech investment group he co-founded with Friedrich von Bohlen und Halbach, a biotech entrepreneur and a descendant of the Krupp family. 

Two other investment groups owned by Hopp – Heidelberg-based DH Capital and Sankt Leon-Rot-based OH Beteiligungen – have also invested in CureVac. 

The recent investment by the German government in CureVac has propelled the Tübingen-based biotech into unicorn status. Previous to coronavirus, CureVac, although valuable and gaining investments from the likes of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and one of the UK’s top asset managers, Ballie Gifford, was a relatively unknown biotech group competing with many others for the attention of investors. 

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