Legions of investors piled into Moderna Inc. this year, drawn by its position as a front-runner in the global hunt for a coronavirus vaccine. Hedge-fund manager Patrick Degorce has been a believer for nearly a decade.
The first time hedge-fund manager Patrick Degorce met with biotech company Moderna Inc., it was a hail-Mary effort to find a cure for his wife.
It was 2011 and the woman who was his high-school sweetheart before marrying him had recently been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Mr. Degorce enlisted several friends in his search for treatments, including experts in cancer and thoracic surgery. One had told him he should meet with Moderna, then a startup near Boston that had about 10 employees.
He was so intrigued by what he heard that he began personally investing in the company starting in 2012. He also gave a $500,000 grant to fund Moderna’s initial expansion into cancer research, including the hiring of its first two oncology scientists.
Nearly a decade later Moderna is one of the hottest bets in the biotech world. Moderna’s stock price surged 252% this year while the company emerged as a front-runner in the global hunt for a coronavirus vaccine. It is one of roughly 10 vaccines world-wide in Phase 3 studies, and Moderna’s study should yield a preliminary answer about whether the shot works before the end of the year, its chief executive has said.
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