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Novak Djokovic and his wife bought a majority stake in a biotech firm developing a COVID-19 treatment that doesn't involve vaccines

Insider
Insider
 2022-01-20

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Novak Djokovic owns 80% of QuantBioRes.
  • Novak Djokovic is the controlling shareholder of a biotech firm developing a COVID-19 drug.
  • He bought an 80% stake in QuantBioRes in 2020, the company's CEO told Reuters.
  • Djokovic is not vaccinated against COVID, and has previously said he is "opposed" to vaccines.

Novak Djokovic , the world number one tennis star whose opposition to vaccination saw him deported from Australia last week, is the controlling shareholder of a biotechnology firm that is developing a COVID-19 treatment that doesn't involve vaccines.

The tennis star, who was removed from Australia on Sunday amid a dispute over a medical exemption relating to him being unvaccinated, bought an 80% stake in QuantBioRes in 2020, company records show.

QuantBioRes CEO Ivan Loncarevic told Reuters that Djokovic bought the stake in June 2020, but declined to say how much he paid. According to the Danish company register, Djokovic and his wife Jelena own 40.8% and 39.2% of the company respectively.

Loncarevic told Reuters that the Danish firm is "developing a peptide which inhibits the coronavirus from infecting the human cell" and that clinical trials are expected to start this summer.

The company's website says it started developing a "deactivation mechanism" for COVID-19 in July 2020.

Little more is publicly known about what the treatment will involve.

Djokovic's representatives did not immediately reply to Insider's request for comment.

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Djokovic was deported from Australia on Sunday.

In 2020, before COVID-19 vaccines were available, April 2020, Djokovic said he was "opposed to vaccination" but that he was "no expert" and would keep an "open mind."

The 34-year-old had not publicly shared his vaccination status until earlier this month when he revealed he had been granted a medical exemption to play in the Australian Open without one.

Upon flying to Melbourne, however, his visa was revoked after the Australian Border Force deemed his recent COVID-19 infection not to be sufficient for his exemption.

The Serbian subsequently spent four days awaiting deportation in an immigration detention center before his visa was reinstated by a judge.

But days later, his visa was then revoked for a second time after it emerged he had provided false information about his whereabouts before entering the country.

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Djokovic in Dubai after his deportation from Australia.

He also admitted to attending a media event in his native Belgrade in December just days after testing positive for COVID-19.

Australia's Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said on Sunday that Djokovic would subsequently be banned from entering Australia for three years as a result of his deportation, meaning he may not be able to play in the Australian Open until 2025.

On Monday, France's Sports Ministry deepened Djokovic's problems by saying that he could also be barred from competing in the French Open later this year after the country passed a new vaccine pass law that will require people to have a certificate of vaccination to enter public places such as restaurants, cafes, cinemas, and long-distance trains.

"The rule is simple. The vaccine pass will be imposed, as soon as the law is promulgated, in establishments that were already subject to the health pass," the ministry said.

"This will apply to everyone who is a spectator or a professional sportsperson."

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