In January 2020, when the world had yet to realise the looming threat of a global pandemic, the Co-Founders of BioNTech, Prof. Dr. Ugur SAHIN and Dr. Özlem TÜRECI, launched “Project Lightspeed”. Using messenger RNA technology, they succeeded in developing the world’s first vaccine against COVID-19 within less than a year and with 95 percent efficacy – a world record from every perspective!
Their groundbreaking research truly changed the world for the better as it saved millions of lives and gave people back the hope of a free life. In this stars webinar, Sahin and Türeci take questions from the audience and they share their insights as scientists and leaders.
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About the speakers:
Prof. Ugur SAHIN, M.D., Co-Founder and CEO of BioNTech, is a physician, immunologist and leader in the development of novel approaches to fight cancer and prevent infectious diseases. Dr. Sahin is one of the world’s foremost experts on messenger ribonucleic acids (mRNA), having pioneered several breakthroughs in mRNA-based vaccines and other types of immunotherapy. Dr. Sahin initiated and lead the historic development of the first mRNA vaccine for COVID-19, moving from lab to conditional approvals in a 11-month period. He also leads BioNTech’s research and development of individualized cancer immunotherapies based on targeting non-synonymous mutations identified by next-generation sequencing. Dr. Sahin’s academic credentials include serving as a Full Professor (W3) in Translational Oncology & Immunology at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, and holding the role of Chairman of the Scientific Management Board of the Helmholtz Institute for Translational Oncology (HI-TRON), also in Mainz. Based on his contributions to scientific discovery, Dr. Sahin has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the German Sustainability Award, the Mustafa Prize, and the German Cancer Award.
Dr. Özlem TÜRECI, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of BioNTech, is a highly accomplished physician, immunologist and translational cancer researcher with substantial clinical experience and interdisciplinary knowledge. Dr. Türeci has helped lead the development of mRNA-based vaccine and cancer antigens as well as individualized immunotherapies currently in clinical development, playing a key role in establishing a new class of drugs with the potential to fighting cancer and preventing infectious diseases. She played a crucial role in BioNTech’s “Project Lightspeed,” overseeing the clinical development of the first mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine, an historic achievement completed in less than one year. Dr. Türeci previously served as CEO and Chief Medical Officer of Ganymed Pharmaceuticals AG, which was acquired by Astellas in 2016. She currently serves as President of the Association for Cancer Immunotherapy in Germany. She is a recent recipient of the German Sustainability Award, among other notable recognitions.