Billionaire’s Biotech Bets: 3 Stocks Dominating Bill Gates’ Portfolio


  • Bill Gates is investing billions of dollars into biotech stocks through his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • BioNTech (BNTX): The first Covid-19 shot approved was the one made by this biotech and Pfizer (PFE).
  • Vir Biotechnology (VIR): VIR stock focuses on infectious diseases using its leading mAb platform.
  • Immunocore (IMCR): The biggest biotech in the Gates Foundation portfolio is IMCR stock which targets cancer and HIV research.
Bill Gates biotech stocks - Billionaire’s Biotech Bets: 3 Stocks Dominating Bill Gates’ Portfolio

Source: Paolo Bona /

Since Bill Gates left his position with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) he diversified his stock portfolio away from the tech giant. Instead, biotechnology has been is primary interest. Gates was one of the loudest voices during the Covid-19 pandemic for providing therapeutics to poor countries and elsewhere.

His Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation used its clout to influence response to the disease by governments around the world. The Foundation also gave more than $1 billion to the World Health Organization to direct its response while setting up satellite organizations to distribute the Covid therapeutics to various countries.  

The Foundation is one of the world’s largest philanthropies. Gates promised to donate most of his vast wealth to it, as did Warren Buffett. The Foundation’s investment portfolio is wholly dedicated to biotech stocks. Nine companies comprise its highly concentrated portfolio. Below are the top three Bill Gates biotech stocks that comprise 79% of the Foundation’s holdings.

BioNTech (BNTX) 

The headquarters of BioNTech (BNTX) in Germany.
Source: Palatinate Stock /

The first Covid shot that received FDA emergency use approval was the one developed by Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) in December 2020. Called Cominarty, it used messenger RNA (mRNA) technology to create a treatment that held the virus at bay for a period of time before needing to be updated.

Yet BioNTech wants to move mRNA-based therapies beyond just Covid and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) to more potentially lucrative areas like cancer. The biotech just presented clinical data about its new cancer vaccine and novel investigational antibody-drug conjugate undergoing Phase 1 trials. The LuCa-MERIT-1 vaccine showed antitumor activity in this early phase testing and will have at least 10 additional trials in order by the end of the year.

BNTX stock jumped 5.5% on the news. It was a welcome relief for investors who have watched the stock fall 30% from recent highs. The stock has also lost three-quarters of its value from the all-time high hit back in 2021. BioNTech accounts for 17.5% of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation portfolio, which owns almost 148,000 shares valued at $15.7 million. That’s a significant amount but not enough to put the Foundation in the top 10 ownership list.

Vir Biotechnology (VIR)

A bunch of glass vials of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. Vaccine stocks
Source: Shutterstock

Vir Biotechnology (NASDAQ:VIR) is creating treatments for infectious diseases using its leading monoclonal antibody (mAb) platform. The biotech has a pipeline of clinical trials underway. Among them are two late-stage programs for chronic hepatitis delta and chronic hepatitis B. 

The Gates Foundation, though, committed $10 million to support Vir in developing a prophylactic HIV vaccine using Vir’s human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) vector platform. VIR-1388 is an investigational novel T cell vaccine. It is designed to stimulate the body into producing T cells, immunity-inducing cells that can recognize several HIV proteins. The treatment is in Phase 1 trials. 

Vir recently announced it completed enrollment for a Phase 2 ​​SOLSTICE trial testing tobevibart and elebsiran in adults. Tobevibart is an antibody designed to function as a T cell vaccine against hepatitis. Elebsiran is a small interfering ribonucleic acid (siRNA) targeting hepatitis B. It is the first collaboration with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ALNY) to enter clinical trials.

VIR stock also represents a 17.5% position in the Gates Foundation’s portfolio. It owns 1.56 million shares currently worth more than $15 million.

Immunocore (IMCR)

biotech stocks
Source: Shutterstock

The largest holding by far in the portfolio is Immunocore (NASDAQ:IMCR), which commands a 43.8% stake. The partnership with the Foundation extends back to 2017. That’s when Gates committed to investing $40 million in the biotech for it to spur research into the use of T cell receptor (TCR)-based therapeutics to treat tuberculosis and HIV. Immunocore notes there are 10.4 million active cases of latent tuberculosis infection and 1.8 million deaths annually.  

Immunocore’s specialty, however, has been working in oncology. Its therapies induced industry giants including AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN), Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY), GSK (NYSE:GSK) and Genentech to partner with the biotech over the years.

The only product Immunocore has on the market is Kimmtrak. It is the first approved TCR therapy for uveal melanoma, a rare type of cancer that occurs in the tissue of the eyes. Immunocore realized almost $239 million in revenue from Kimmtrak in 2023.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation owns close to 577,000 shares of IMCR stock valued at $39.4 million.

On the date of publication, Rich Duprey did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the Publishing Guidelines.

Rich Duprey has written about stocks and investing for the past 20 years. His articles have appeared on, The Motley Fool, and Yahoo! Finance, and he has been referenced by U.S. and international publications, including MarketWatch, Financial Times, Forbes, Fast Company, USA Today, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Cheddar News, The Boston Globe, L’Express, and numerous other news outlets.

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