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What BioNTech did next: the plan for a revolution in cancer care

By Hannah Kuchler

14 Jun 2022 · 9 min read

Editor's Note

BioNTech helped in pioneering messengerRNA: machine synthesised DNA templates which helped the world to overcome the Covid pandemic. Could mRNA tackle cancer next?

Uğur Şahin arrives at BioNTech’s headquarters in the German city of Mainz on the same battered bicycle he has been riding for 20 years. Developing the best-selling Covid-19 vaccine may have transformed BioNTech’s founders into billionaires, but the chief executive of the biotech business has resisted making changes in his personal life.

Şahin and his wife, chief medical officer Özlem Türeci, set up BioNTech in 2008 to create a toolbox to transform the treatment of cancer. Since finding fame, their vision has not shifted. When practising as doctors, the pair had become frustrated at the gap between the cancer drugs available on the wards — and what they believed was scientifically possible.

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