The commitment is the first significant publicly announced philanthropic gift by Zhang, whose net worth, according to Forbes, is $16 billion. In April, TikTok pledged $375 million in support of global COVID-19 relief efforts.
Launched in March with $125 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard to coordinate research and development efforts, remove barriers to drug development, and scale treatments to address the pandemic, the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator has since received contributions from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Michael & Susan Dell, Avast, and EQT foundations, as well as Madonna.
"[Zhang]...has tremendous respect for Bill and Melinda Gates' systematic approach and ongoing efforts in contributing to philanthropy," said a spokesperson for Zhang. "He sees them as an inspiration for all entrepreneurs fortunate enough to be in a position to give back to the community."
"Philanthropic, government, and private sector organizations as well as individuals like Zhang Yiming demonstrate the wide array of donors who understand the value of collaboration in developing effective drugs to help turn the tide of this pandemic," said Trevor Mundel, president of the global health division at the Gates Foundation. "Until we have a vaccine, expanded testing, isolation, and treatment are our best options."
(Photo credit: Dieter Telemans/Panos Pictures)