Novak Djokovic holds major stake in Danish firm developing Covid drug, CEO says

According to information publicly available in the Danish business register, Djokovic and his wife, Jelena, together hold an 80 per cent in QuantBioRes

Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

World No 1 Novak Djokovic, recently deported from Australia due to his coronavirus vaccine status, is co-founder and majority shareholder of a biotech firm developing a Covid-19 treatment, according to the Danish company's CEO.

According to information publicly available in the Danish business register, 34-year-old Djokovic and his wife, Jelena, together hold an 80 per cent in QuantBioRes, which employs around 20 people in Denmark, Slovenia, Australia and Britain.

"He is one of the founders of my company we founded in June 2020," the chief executive of QuantBioRes, Ivan Loncarevic, told AFP.

"We aim to develop a new technology to fight viruses and resistant bacteria and we decided to use Covid as a showcase," Loncarevic said "If we succeed with Covid, we will succeed with other viruses."

Djokovic is yet to comment on his stake in the Danish biotech firm.

Djokovic returned to Belgrade on Monday after briefly transiting through Dubai following his deportation from Melbourne on Sunday.

The Serb failed in a last-gasp court bid to stay and defend his Australian Open title, quashing his immediate bid for a record 21st major title.

His dramatic departure followed a protracted, high-stakes legal battle between the athlete and Australian authorities that cast a dark shadow over the tournament.

An Australian court said on Thursday it dismissed Djokovic's challenge to his visa cancellation as the minister who revoked it reasonably believed Djokovic may be a risk to the community.

The Federal Court also rejected the argument there was no evidence that Djokovic had ever urged anyone not to get vaccinated, saying it was open to infer that the public would perceive that he was opposed to vaccinations, since he said he had not been vaccinated.

"An iconic world tennis star may influence people of all ages, young or old, but perhaps especially the young and the impressionable, to emulate him. This is not fanciful; it does not need evidence," the judges said.

Djokovic's saga has fuelled global debate over the rights of people who opt not to get vaccinated as governments look to protect the community from the coronavirus pandemic.

His lawyers had argued the cancellation should be quashed on the grounds that Immigration Minister Alex Hawke's decision was irrational, lacked evidence that Djokovic's presence in Australia may stoke anti-vaccination sentiment, and had failed to consider that deporting Djokovic might inflame anti-vax sentiment.

The Federal Court said while another minister might have decided not to cancel the visa, Hawke had followed the right steps under the law which allows him to cancel a visa as long as he is satisfied the visa holder "may be a risk to the health or good order of the Australian community".

"The minister reached that state of satisfaction on grounds that cannot be said to be irrational or illogical or not based on relevant material," Chief Justice James Allsop and judges Anthony Besanko and David O'Callaghan said in their reasons handed down on Thursday.

Djokovic now risks missing the next tennis Grand Slam event - the French Open in May - as the country's Sports Ministry has said there would be no exemption from a new vaccine pass law approved on Sunday.

Updated: January 20, 2022, 10:15 AM