Execs at COVID vaccine manufacturer Moderna triggered property boom near Boston HQ

As Moderna’s profits soared during the Covid-19 pandemic, their executives and even their employees have been reaping the benefits in the form of pricey real estate close to the company’s headquarters in the Boston-area. 

According to a new feature in the Wall Street Journal, one unnamed Moderna executive put in an offer to buy a unit on the 17th floor of the St. Regis building overlooking Boston’s harbor for $4.9 million on the same day a Pfizer exec bought a condo in the same building on the 16th floor for $4.8 million. 

The sales director for the building, Cathy Angelini, told the Journal the Moderna executive told her that he wanted his home to be one floor higher than the Pfizer exec. She said: ‘He just looked at me, completely serious and said, “I want the same home, but I need to be one floor higher than Pfizer.”‘

She added: ‘I don’t think he was concerned about the price.’ The executive told her: ‘Just get me higher.’ 

Other executives have snapped up multi-million dollar homes in Boston’s most desirable neighborhoods, as well as in tony suburbs, and the stunning Cape Cod holiday resort Provincetown. 

Further heating up the Massachusetts city’s property market was Moderna executives’ demands for property purchases at short notice, which local real estate agents have dubbed the ‘Moderna halo effect.’ 

Manny Sarkis of real estate firm Douglas Elliman said the boom began in mid-2021, with Moderna staffers happy to pay over-the-odds for a fast purchase.

He told the Journal: ‘These aren’t buyers who are going to be browsing for two to three months .These are buyers who are flying in to buy a home.’

The St. Regis building overlooking Boston’s harbor where two pharmaceutical executives from two different companies bought nearly two nearly $5 million condos on the same day in 2021

The sales director for the building, Cathy Angelini, told the Wall Street Journal the Moderna executive told her that he wanted his home to be one floor higher than the Pfizer exec.

The sales director for the building, Cathy Angelini, told the Wall Street Journal the Moderna executive told her that he wanted his home to be one floor higher than the Pfizer exec.

According to the St. Regis' website: 'The St. Regis Residences, Boston offers 114 extraordinary homes including majestic views and spacious surroundings'

According to the St. Regis’ website: ‘The St. Regis Residences, Boston offers 114 extraordinary homes including majestic views and spacious surroundings’

The company’s chief human resource officer Tracey Franklin, and her husband, William, bought a house in Boston for around $6 million in April 2021. The couple have two children together. 

Franklin made the move to Moderna in October 2019, just months before the Covid-19 pandemic changed the world. 

This month, her role in building a team that helped to develop the coronavirus vaccine was covered by Forbes Magazine.  

In a separate interview with Fortune Magazine, Franklin described joining Moderna as saying: ‘We essentially had to build the company overnight. 

‘We had to build out a whole arm of the company that hadn’t existed before, cross-functionally, globally, in all different parts of the world. 

‘That rapid scaling is pretty unprecedented.’ 

The company's chief human resource officer Tracey Franklin and her husband, William, bought this house in Boston for around $6 million in April 2021

The company’s chief human resource officer Tracey Franklin and her husband, William, bought this house in Boston for around $6 million in April 2021

Tracey Franklin is credited with developing the team that led to Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine breakthrough

Tracey Franklin is credited with developing the team that led to Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine breakthrough

In November 2021, Allyson Nicholson and her husband, Michael, purchased a $2.5 million home in Westwood, Massachusetts

In November 2021, Allyson Nicholson and her husband, Michael, purchased a $2.5 million home in Westwood, Massachusetts

Moderna's vice president of supply chain design, Allyson Nicholson, who was previously based in Thousand Oaks, California with Amgen, joined Moderna in September 2021

Moderna’s vice president of supply chain design, Allyson Nicholson, who was previously based in Thousand Oaks, California with Amgen, joined Moderna in September 2021

Moderna’s vice president of supply chain design, Allyson Nicholson, who was previously based in Thousand Oaks, California, with Amgen, joined Moderna in September 2021. 

In November 2021, she and her husband, Michael, purchased a $2.5 million home in Westwood, Massachusetts.

The stunning New England clapboard property sits on a huge manicured lawn, and comes complete with a spacious triple-garage.  

Another of those who made big purchases is the chief scientific officer of Moderna Genomics, Eric Huang, who paid $3.9 million for a condo in Boston. 

Less than a year later, Huang expanded his portfolio further, purchasing a $8.1 million, 3,586-square-foot unit at the Soori High Line in New York City.

That apartment sits in one of Manhattan’s highly sought-after Chelsea neighborhood.  

The Soori High Line in New York City where Moderna's chief researcher in the genome field Eric Huang bought an $8.1 million condo in 2021

The Soori High Line in New York City where Moderna’s chief researcher in the genome field Eric Huang bought an $8.1 million condo in 2021

Eric Huang, pictured above's, New York City pad had an original asking price of $8.5 million. The owner paid $8.8 million for it in 2018

Eric Huang, pictured above’s, New York City pad had an original asking price of $8.5 million. The owner paid $8.8 million for it in 2018

According to his LinkedIn page, Huang is still based in Massachusetts at Moderna’s headquarters, suggesting he uses his Manhattan pad as a second home.

He has been with the company since 2013. 

The seller of Huang’s home was seeking $8.5 million for the five bedroom home. 

In 2018, the seller paid a pricey $8.8million for the pad. 

Huang is head of Moderna’s gene-modifying wing, Moderna Genomics, which was set up in 2021.  

Scientist Paolo Martini splurged $2.5 million on this stunning Provincetown property in April 2021, as Moderna's profits began to soar

Scientist Paolo Martini splurged $2.5 million on this stunning Provincetown property in April 2021, as Moderna’s profits began to soar 

The gorgeous home, in one of the United States' most desirable vacation resorts, includes a serene living room with breathtaking views out over Cape Cod

The gorgeous home, in one of the United States’ most desirable vacation resorts, includes a serene living room with breathtaking views out over Cape Cod 

Moderna scientist Paolo Martini and his partner Jonathan Hawkin became the owners of Provincetown's entertainment complex, Crown & Anchor, for $7.3 million

 Moderna scientist Paolo Martini and his partner Jonathan Hawkin became the owners of Provincetown’s entertainment complex, Crown & Anchor, for $7.3 million

Paolo Martini, pictured here, spent over $11 million on property less than 12 months after joining Moderna in 2021

Paolo Martini, pictured here, spent over $11 million on property less than 12 months after joining Moderna in 2021

Martino, on the left, his partner, Jonathan Hawkins on the right, pictured with former President Bill Clinton in Provincetown in 2022

Martino, on the left, his partner, Jonathan Hawkins on the right, pictured with former President Bill Clinton in Provincetown in 2022

Just six months after joining Moderna, scientist Paolo Martini and his partner, artist Jonathan Hawkins, bought a beach house, peaceful and picturesque Provincetown in Cape Cod for $2.5 million in April 2021. 

But they didn’t stop there, and later decided to invest in the famed LGBT summer resort’s community itself.  

A few months later, the couple became the owners of the area’s entertainment complex, Crown & Anchor, for $7.3 million. 

Another splurge came for the pair in December 2021, when they purchased a $1.9 million condo in Boston. That brought their real estate spending in 2021 to over $11 million. 

Melissa J. Moore, who led a team of researchers who made significant breakthroughs en route to developing the vaccine, paid $4.95 million for a home in Provincetown in October 2021

Melissa J. Moore, who led a team of researchers who made significant breakthroughs en route to developing the vaccine, paid $4.95 million for a home in Provincetown in October 2021

In 2007 and 2013, Melissa Moore, pictured here, received a grants for her research in pre-eclampsia, a blood pressure related condition found in pregnant women, from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

In 2007 and 2013, Melissa Moore, pictured here, received a grants for her research in pre-eclampsia, a blood pressure related condition found in pregnant women, from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Melissa Moore has three children with her former CEO wife, Janet Kosloff

Melissa Moore has three children with her former CEO wife, Janet Kosloff

Melissa J. Moore, who led a team of researchers who made significant breakthroughs en route to developing the vaccine, paid $4.95 million for a home also in Provincetown in Cape Cod in October 2021. 

Moore, and her wife, Janet Kosloff have three children – and plenty of highly desirable space to raise them in. 

In 2007 and 2013, Moore received grants for her research in pre-eclampsia, a blood pressure-related condition found in pregnant women, from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

The company’s head of litigation, Neal Dahiya, bought a home in the Boston suburb of Cambridge for a cool $3.45 million.

On his LinkedIn page, Dahiya says that he joined the company in January 2021 following eight years at New Jersey-based biopharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb. 

The WSJ article mentioned other employees lower down on the Moderna food chain such as a married couple who both worked for the pharma giant who began looking for a home in September 2020 with a budget of $1.9 million. They paid $4.3 million for their home in March 2021.

The company's head of litigation, Neal Dahiya, who bought a home in the Boston suburb of Cambridge for a cool $3.45 million

The company’s head of litigation, Neal Dahiya, who bought a home in the Boston suburb of Cambridge for a cool $3.45 million

On his LinkedIn page, Dahiya says that he joined the company in January 2021 following eight years at New Jersey-based biopharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb

On his LinkedIn page, Dahiya says that he joined the company in January 2021 following eight years at New Jersey-based biopharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb

Moderna told the Journal in a statement: 'As a major employer in Massachusetts, and as we grow our global footprint, we are proud to continue to attract the best and brightest talent in the biotech industry and beyond

Moderna told the Journal in a statement: ‘As a major employer in Massachusetts, and as we grow our global footprint, we are proud to continue to attract the best and brightest talent in the biotech industry and beyond

Moderna told the Journal in a statement: ‘As a major employer in Massachusetts, and as we grow our global footprint, we are proud to continue to attract the best and brightest talent in the biotech industry and beyond.’

Moderna enjoyed its first profitable year in 2021, 11 years after it was founded in 2010. The Boston-headquartered firm has tripled its staff as a result of its successful vaccine.

It had around 830 workers at the end of 2019, and added another 470 during 2020. 

By the end of 2021, Moderna had 2,700 employees – earning an average salary of $133,074 each, and the firm has since expanded again, to more than 3,200 workers. 

That expansion has come amid rocketing profits. In 2019 – the year before COVID hit – Moderna made just $60 million in revenue, and reported a $514 million loss.

But in 2020, it saw its revenue rocket to $18.5 billion, with profits soaring to $12 billion.

The firm’s stock enjoyed a huge bump too, from $28-a-share in March 2020, to a peak of $497.49 in August 2021 – equivalent to a 345 per cent increase. 

Moderna’s shares closed at $163.52 on July 23, with the firm’s co-founder Noubar Afeyan and its CEO Stephane Bancel among billionaires minted by its COVID windfall.   

Earlier this year, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel issued a pledge to donate the proceeds from his stock options, estimated around $355 million to charity.