The company believed that the pandemic would be quickly defeated, Ugur Sahin said.
The American company Pfizer initially refused an RNA vaccine developed by the German pharmaceutical company BioNTech, as it believed that the coronavirus infection would be quickly defeated. This was stated in an interview with The Daily Telegraph by the CEO and co-founder of BioNTech, Ugur Sahin.
“Guys, this isn’t going to work. My working hypothesis is that it (COVID-19) will soon be under control,” Phil Dormitzer, vice president and chief scientific officer for vaccines at Pfizer, replied during a phone call in early 2020, Sahin recalls.
“After the phone conversation with Phil, I thought for a second and said, ‘We will call him again in a few weeks,” the head of BioNTech said in an interview published on Sunday.
Sahin and his wife, director of medical research at BioNTech Ozlem Tureci, were sure that the consent of the American pharmaceutical giant was only a matter of time, and they were right. As the article says, a month later, they made a deal. The development of a joint vaccine was announced in March 2020. So far, about 1.4 billion doses of the drug created by BioNTech have been delivered to 120 countries, and the company’s value is estimated at $85 billion.
In March of this year, Sahin and Tureci, who immigrated to Germany from Turkey as children, were awarded the Order of Merit for the Federal Republic of Germany – the only federal order of Germany. It is awarded to residents of Germany and foreign citizens for special services to Germany in the field of politics and economy, as well as in the social, spiritual, and charitable spheres.