DLD All Stars
23/02/2021

Biontech CEO Uğur Şahin expresses optimism in fight against Corona

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Comet-like rises of scientists are rare. Since the end of last year, however, there has been a new superstar who was one of the most desired speakers at Burda's online festival DLD All Stars: Uğur Şahin, CEO and founder of the German-based research company Biontech. In November 2020, he announced the world's first breakthrough in the fight against Covid-19 with a new vaccine that achieved more than 90 percent efficacy in a large clinical trial. A bright spot in the fight against the pandemic that made Şahin and his Biontech co-founder (and wife) Özlem Türeci famous around the globe overnight.

“We have invested more than a decade into a new approach of 'mRNA' vaccines. Since 2019 we can produce new vaccines against cancer within three to five weeks,” explained Şahin in his DLD All Stars speech. When Covid-19 started to effect more and more parts of our world, Şahin knew that even though they were no experts for this virus, “they needed to come up with a new vaccine that provides optimum protection as immune specialists”.

More optimism!

While there is currently growing concern around the world about the virus' increasingly spreading mutations, Şahin expressed optimism. This, he said, is the "usual path" that viruses take, and thanks to the Corona vaccines, "we should achieve herd immunity by the end of the summer." He urged not to lose optimism despite all the concern and criticism.


“Of course, we are always concerned, but we shouldn’t forget what we have already accomplished: It was the fastest vaccine developed and approved against a novel pathogen in medical history.”

Uğur Şahin, CEO and founder of Biontech


Getting healthy faster with genetic research

Anne Wojcicki, founder of the biotech company "23andMe", was another high-profile innovator in the field of health taking on the virtual DLD stage. The biotech company, whose name is based on the 23 pairs of human chromosomes, became known for genetic tests that provide information about origins, appearance and diseases. Now the company is planning an IPO.


“I really wanted '23andMe' to be a new platform that is driven by genomics and consumers first. We have proven that our model works with over 10 million customers by now. Now we are ready to scale so we need access to capital."

Anne Wojcicki, Founder of "23andMe"


Corona drives the digitalisation of the health system

While Wojcicki notes many positive changes in the health care system since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, she sees a lot of catching up to do in the area of genetic research.


“Before Corona, people thought that virtual care is weird. But Corona has opened new opportunities for virtual primary care which is great. But our healthcare system has still not adopted genetic information even though there has been fundamental research for over 20 years. With '23andMe', we are trying to enable people to better understand their genetic information for a more personalised treatment.”

Anne Wojcicki, Founder of "23andMe"


DLD All Stars head for the finish line!

Starting at 4 p.m. today, the DLD All Stars will start their last conference day with many more inspiring talks. Free registration is still possible at the last minute here.

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DLD Managing Director Steffi Czerny welcomed Uğur Şahin, who has been part of DLD Health in 2015 and gave insights into the development of the Covid-19 vaccine at DLD All Stars (c) DLD

Anne Wojcicki and Kara Swisher ("New York Times") spoke about how human genetic information has the power to transform how we prevent, diagnose and treat diseases and enable personalised health care (c) DLD

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