The announcement of the “Pfizer” vaccine, which has reached 90% effectiveness against “Covid 19”, is a turning point in the global battle to fight Corona.
But while the vaccine was funded by the US pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer, the same scientific breakthrough was the making of Biontech, a German company founded by the dedicated couple and doctors Ugur Shaheen and Ozlem Toriichi, according to the Middle East newspaper.
The world welcomes them as the two people behind a potential coronavirus vaccine.
Professor Shaheen, 55, and Dr. Turici, 53, are among the 100 richest Germans, with their company, Biontech, rising to $ 21 billion (16 billion pounds) in the wake of the potential vaccine.
But they, as children of immigrants, came from more modest backgrounds. The CEO of Biontech was born in the Turkish city of Iskenderun and moved to West Germany at the age of four. His father was a migrant worker at the Ford factory in Cologne.
As for Dr. Turici, the company’s chief medical officer, she was born in Germany, and is the daughter of a Turkish doctor who immigrated to the country from Istanbul.
Shaheen trained as a physician, taught in Cologne and Hamburg, but switched his focus to research on immunotherapy. He met Dr. Toriichi early in his academic career.
Toricchi once said in an interview that even on their wedding day, they both set aside time to work in the lab.
The couple had a passion for research and oncology, which was the basis of their work in their first company, which they established in 2001, and called it “Ganymede Pharmacotherapy.”
The company began researching the possibility of using MRNA to trick the body into fighting cancer and developing antibodies to fight it.
The two doctors sold the work in 2016 for $ 1.4 billion (£ 1 billion). By that time, they were already busy building Biontec, which was founded in 2008, to pursue a much broader set of cancer immunotherapy tools.
The couple’s work on “MRNA” has proven vital in developing a vaccine for the Coronavirus.
And in January, Shaheen came across a scientific paper on the outbreak of the new Corona virus in Wuhan, China. He has considered an approach to using MRNA anti-cancer drugs in MRNA-based viral vaccines.
Biontech quickly recruited about 500 employees to work on several potential compounds, and the pharmaceutical giant “Pfizer” and the Chinese pharmaceutical company “Fosan” won as partners in March.
Trials have now shown that the vaccine, which uses MRNA to stimulate the body to produce antibodies, is 90 percent effective.
Shaheen’s colleagues described the professor as “humble.” “He’s a very humble person,” said Matthias Theobald, a professor of oncology at the University of Mainz, where Shaheen still works. “Looks don’t mean much to him. But he wants to create the structures that allow him to realize his visions, and this is where aspirations are far from modest. “.
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