Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic, recently deported from Australia, is co-founder and majority shareholder of a biotech firm developing a COVID-19 treatment, the Danish company's CEO said Wednesday.
"He is one of the founders of my company we founded in June 2020," the chief executive of QuantBioRes, Ivan Loncarevic, told AFP.
According to information publicly available in the Danish business register, 34-year-old Djokovic and his wife, Jelena, together hold a stake of 80 per cent in QuantBioRes, which employs a workforce of around 20 in Denmark, Slovenia, Australia and Britain.
"We aim to develop a new technology to fight viruses and resistant bacteria and we decided to use COVID as a showcase," Mr Loncarevic said.
"If we succeed with COVID, we will succeed with other viruses."
QuantBioRes is planning to launch clinical trials in the UK in the European summer, he said.
The unvaccinated men's world number one flew out of Melbourne on Sunday after he failed in a last-gasp court bid to stay and play in the opening Grand Slam event of the year - the Australian Open - where he was targeting 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.
Djokovic had received a medical exemption in order to enter Australia because he had tested positive for the virus in the past six months.
But Australian Border Force (ABF) officers cancelled his visa upon his arrival in Melbourne to compete in the tournament.
This was because "previous infection with COVID-19 is not considered a medical contraindication for COVID-19 vaccination in Australia", court documents submitted by ABF delegates showed.
He was held at Park Hotel, an immigration detention facility in Melbourne, as his lawyers fought to reinstate his visa. A Federal Circuit Court judge ultimately ruled in his favour.
But Immigration Minister Alex Hawke then used his personal powers under the Migration Act to again cancel his visa under public interest grounds because Djokovic was a "talisman of anti-vaccination sentiment" and that his presence in Australia might incite "civil unrest".
Contacted by AFP, Djokovic's spokesman declined to comment on the tennis star's stake in the Danish biotech firm.
With additional reporting by SBS News.