Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel, for helping slay COVID, knighted in France

Moderna’s CEO Stéphane Bancel has been named a chevalier (knight) of the Légion d’Honneur, the highest French distinction for military and civil accomplishments.

Bancel and Moderna have had a whirlwind few years. After starting as a small, early-stage vaccine and infectious disease biotech, the company nabbed unicorn status in 2018 then rode to the rescue in 2020 to develop a new mRNA vaccine to help stop the COVID pandemic. Moderna has made tens of billions of dollars in the process.

It seems fitting, then, that he has been made a chevalier of France, akin to a knighthood in the U.K., for his role in helping beat back the attack of SARS-CoV-2.

“I am humbled to have been recognized as chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur by [French President] Macron,” Bancel told Fierce Pharma Marketing.

“To be honored with the highest French distinction for military and civil accomplishments is something I will always cherish," he added "I remain grateful for the collaboration of the French government in our fight against COVID-19.”

This bright spot comes amid a tough month for the company: Right after CFO Jorge Gomez took office, he was instantly embroiled in a scandal after his former company Dentsply Sirona revealed an investigation into “certain financial reporting matters.”

Moderna also saw one of the largest drops in market cap across the top 20 biggest pharmas for the first quarter, down 33%. This was the exact same drop as rival mRNA COVID shot maker BioNTech and comes as concerns grow “towards the sustainability of waning vaccine demand,” according to analysis out by GlobalData this week.