BioNTech’s CEO and Co-founder Prof. Ugur Sahin visited Israel to meet with the Minister of Economy and Industry, Major General (res.) Orna Barbivay, and other government officials.
BioNTech (short for Biopharmaceutical New Technologies) is a German biotechnology company based in Mainz that develops and manufactures active immunotherapies for patient-specific approaches to the treatment of diseases, based on messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) in immunotherapies. In 2020, BioNTech partnered with Pfizer to develop the RNA vaccine BNT162b2 for preventing COVID-19 infections, which at the time offered a 91% efficacy.
Prof. Sahin’s visit was set to promote potential cooperation between the State of Israel, its academic institutions, and BioNTech on pandemic preparedness, and to discuss potential research collaborations aimed at developing innovative medicines.
BioNTech is considering the establishment of a research and production facility in Israel.
During his three-day visit, Prof. Sahin also met with Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon, Hebrew University President Prof. Asher Cohen, Innovation Authority CEO Dror Bin, representatives of Hadassah Hospital, and researchers from leading academic institutions in Israel––who presented him with groundbreaking research. Prof. Sahin also held a lecture at the Weizmann Institute on the potential of mRNA vaccines and therapeutics.
Minister Barbivay said: “Israel works to find technological solutions to epidemics and diseases. We are not waiting for the next crisis, but are anticipating a cure and working to develop an independent capacity that will allow us to produce vaccines and scientific solutions for any future need that may be required. The meeting with the CEO of BioNTech, and the cooperation of the Foreign Trade Administration at the Ministry of Economy and the other entities in Israel with BioNTech and a variety of other companies, will enable the optimal realization of the potential of Israeli technologies and research for the benefit of the citizens of the country.”
Prof. Sahin said: “The invitation to Israel is a great honor. With its public health initiatives, Israel has become a role model in the management of the pandemic and has made pioneering contributions to understanding the impact of COVID-19 vaccines on public health. We at BioNTech are committed to global public health, and as we continue to expand internationally, we look forward to strengthening and expanding our existing scientific and clinical collaborations with the State of Israel and its institutions. Our goal is not only to evaluate technological solutions for the pandemic preparedness of Israel but also to establish new research collaborations to jointly advance science and develop innovations in disease areas with high unmet medical need.”
The outreach to BioNTech was initiated by a team led by the Accountant General at the Ministry of Finance, the Foreign Trade Administration at the Ministry of Economy and Industry, the Ministry of Health, and the Prime Minister’s Office, through Israel’s Economic Mission in Munich, and with the support of the kENUP Foundation, a non-profit foundation that supports research innovation in the field of health for the public benefit.