Event recap

New Atlanticist

Nov 8, 2021

If the pandemic hit a year earlier, ‘we might not have been in the position to respond this fast,’ say BioNTech co-founders. Here’s why.

By Atlantic Council

BioNTech co-founders Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci joined the Atlantic Council to talk about their pursuit to develop mRNA vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine, and how they work on common passions as a couple.

Coronavirus Resilience


Professor Ugur Sahin, M.D.

Co-Founder and CEO


Özlem Türeci, M.D.

Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer


In conversation with

David Gelles

Corner Office Columnist and Business Reporter

New York Times

The Atlantic Council hosted a high-level conversation with BioNTech Co-Founders, Professor Ugur Sahin, M.D., Co-Founder and CEO, and Dr. Özlem Türeci, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer, on November 8, 2021.

At the forefront of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic have been the creators of the vaccines, Professor Ugur Sahin and Dr. Özlem Türeci, Co-Founders of BioNTech. BioNTech’s approach to confronting the challenge of the virus, working across the Atlantic with an American partner to develop the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and alongside governments around the world to distribute doses, embodies the Atlantic Council’s mission of working with partners and allies to confront the biggest challenges of the day.

This edition of #ACFrontPage discussed the state of the pandemic and vaccine development, as well as the Co-Founders’ personal stories ahead of the Atlantic Council’s Distinguished Leadership Awards honoring them for their work to help curb the pandemic.

An #ACFrontPage event

Atlantic Council Front Page is our premier live ideas platform for global leaders to discuss the defining challenges of our time.

Atlantic Council Front Page is a virtual event series featuring top newsmakers across multiple digital platforms. Harnessing the convening power and expertise of the Council’s thirteen programs and centers, #ACFrontPage leverages the Council’s capabilities in social media, press, and digital outreach to spotlight the world’s most prominent leaders and the most compelling ideas across sectors and engage new audiences eager for nonpartisan and constructive solutions to current global challenges. This widely promoted program features the Council’s most important guests and content serving as the highlight of our programming each week.

Wednesday, November 10th

Distinguished Leadership Awards

On our 60th anniversary, the Distinguished Leadership Awards salutes an exemplary group of individuals who have contributed to the Atlantic Council’s mission of shaping the global future together.