BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin is now among the world’s richest 500

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Ugur Sahin
Dr. Ugur Sahin is the 493rd richest person in the world.

The co-founder and CEO of the German biotechnology company BioNtech, Dr. Ugur Sahin has now entered into the world’s 500 richest people list after the UK approved the use of a COVID-19 vaccine that the firm co-created with Pfizer.

During this week itself, BioNTech’s shares have surged about 8 percent and are up more than 250 percent for the year. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Dr. Ugur Sahin is now at the 493rd position in the world’s richest person list with a net worth of about $5.1 billion.

Last day, the UK became the first western country to approve a COVID-19 vaccine, clearing the way for mass usage of shots developed by Pfizer and BioNTech that are said to have shown 95 percent efficacy in preventing the virus. The German firm is still waiting for a decision from the US Food and Drug Administration and European Union regulators.

Earlier, the biotechnology firm was focused on fighting cancer, but in January when Dr. Sahin and his wife Ozlem Tureci who is the chief medical officer of BioNTech learned about a virus outbreak in Wuhan (China) they deviated their path to the development of COVID-19 shots. Their results are a validation of the new type of drug that they have spent their careers chasing.

The physician-turned-entrepreneur Dr. Sahin is the sole shareholder of a German company that holds a 18 percent share in BioNTech, which raised $150 million from its US IPO last year, as per filings.

Dr. Sahin has joined German drug makers Struengmann brothers among the world’s 500 richest people. They own about half of BioNTech and have already aligned with Dr. Sahin and his wife in their previous biotech venture, Ganymed Pharmaceuticals.

Besides, BioNTech, the US-based vaccine candidate Moderna has also seen a surge in its value with over 650 percent this year making some of its early investors’ billionaires. The CEO of the American biotechnology firm Stephane Bancel now has a fortune of $4.7 billion.