The Co-Founders of BioNTech, Prof. Dr. Ugur SAHIN and Dr. Özlem TÜRECI, developed the world’s first vaccine against COVID-19 within less than a year and with 95 percent efficacy – a world record from every perspective! In this stars webinar, they talked about their visions of leadership and innovation, the potential of mRNA technology and how to be better prepared for the next pandemic.
Here are 12 insights from the discussion – click on the quotes to get directly to those segments in the video:
💡On the essence of leadership: “The most important aspect of leadership is to create new leaders”
💡On their collaborative leadership style: “Don’t rely on individual skills but on swarm intelligence”
💡On their personal learnings during the pandemic: “There is power in just daring to start and to solve the problems which you encounter on new territory on the go”
💡On the strengths of a startup mindset: “It is really important that during the growth transformation the strengths of a startup are not lost”
💡On innovation in biotech vs. pharma: “For innovation there is no evidence at the beginning, so the risk-taking is on the side of biotech, believing in things which are not yet proven, and the strength in pharma is in executing and optimising things which already exist”
💡On how BioNTech pulled off mRNA vaccine development in record time: “We had all the processes in place allowing us to generate new genetically engineered vaccines within a few weeks”
💡On the beauty of mRNA technology: “It is so highly adaptable with a very short turnaround time to generate a variant vaccine and you can boost it endlessly and mix and match with new upcoming variants to modify the immune response”
💡On the potential of mRNA technology: “The potential is huge as it can be used for all purposes for which you would nowadays use protein-based technologies”
💡On the need for annual booster vaccinations: “At the moment we believe that a re-vaccination every 12 months is a realistic scenario”
💡On the next pandemic: “There will be next pandemics, several of them, simply because the mobility we have nowadays is a large trigger”
💡On how to be better prepared next time: “We require a manufacturing concept and capacity that could allow us to ramp up much faster than we were able to do now”
💡On what makes them happy: “Our daily happiness is really driven by curiosity – every time that we understand something better, every time that we see we made a little progress, it provides us happiness and further motivation”
To watch the entire recording of the webinar, please click here.