BioNTech’s Covid vaccine: a shot in the arm for Germany’s Turkish community

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Sumary of BioNTech’s Covid vaccine: a shot in the arm for Germany’s Turkish community:

  • When the German biotechnology company BioNTech picked a street called An der Goldgrube or At the Goldmine in the western city of Mainz for its headquarters, the couple behind it could not have predicted how prophetic the address would turn out to be..
  • The company shares shot up 23.4% on Monday morning after the Covid-19 vaccine it is developing with the US pharma giant Pfizer became the first candidate worldwide to show positive results in phase 3 trials, the crucial final stage of testing..
  • The total value of BioNTech stock is currently $21.9bn (£16.6bn), more than four times that of German national carrier Lufthansa and a triumph for a company that only made its debut on the US stock market a year ago..
  • Covid-19 vaccine candidate is 90% effective, says Pfizer Founded in 2008 by the married scientists Özlem Türeci and Ugur Sahin and the Austrian oncologist Christoph Huber, the company originally set out to develop new types of immunotherapy against cancer, modifying patients’ T cells to target cancer-specific antigens..
  • When news of the coronavirus first surfaced at the start of the year, BioNTech, which employs 1,300 people, was quick to reallocate its resources..
  • Sahin, its CEO, told Germany Manager Magazin that when he read about the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan in January, he told his wife that “in April they’ll have to shut the schools here”..
  • Germany entered its first lockdown in March, earlier than Sahin had anticipated, but by then his company had already developed 20 candidates for a vaccine, of which it would go on to test five for immune reactions in a research programme accompanied by 500 scientists called Lightspeed..
  • Sahin said in an interview in late October that the company could have managed to develop a vaccine on its own, but it would have struggled with the challenge of distribution..
  • Pfizer, which has collaborated with BioNTech on flu vaccines since 2018, paid $185m upfront toward the development of the coronavirus vaccine..
  • Monday milestone of interim results showing 90% efficacy is a triumph for Pfizer and BioNTech scientific method..
  • In a country where a debate about the willingness of German citizens with Turkish roots to integrate into public life has never been far from the headlines for the last decade, the story of BioNTech founders is also salient…

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