The billionaires behind the success

DGermany has two new stars. It is the doctors Özlem Türeci and Ugur Sahin, whose research has given rise to the greatest hope so far in mankind’s fight against the coronavirus, the potential vaccine from the Mainz company Biontech. The news that this substance will in all probability provide even better protection against the epidemic than previously hoped and that it could be available in the millions this year has brightened the mood at many dinner tables and stock prices around the world over the past week let it shoot up. Is this the beginning of the end of the pandemic? Biontech itself, which until six months ago was only known to insiders from the biotech scene, is now worth 25 billion dollars on the stock exchange, a good three times as much as Deutsche Bank.

Sebastian Balzter

Editor in the economy of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

The two scientists whose parents came to Germany from Turkey are rightly in the spotlight. The success of this clever, sympathetic-humble researcher couple – he is the CEO, she the head of medicine at Biontech – has everything that belongs to a true hero story. But the whole truth about the new German Corona hope has not yet been told. Brilliant research is not enough to transform a company like Biontech from a start-up into a company with 1,500 employees and the production capacity for several hundred million doses of vaccine a year. This also requires stamina and negotiating skills, entrepreneurial elbows and a network in the pharmaceutical industry. And last but not least money, a lot of money.


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