German couple behind vaccine are immigrant success story
The couple behind the coronavirus vaccine breakthrough are among Germany’s biggest immigrant success stories.
Özlem Türeci (L) and Uğur Şahin, the couple behind the vaccine
While the search for the vaccine has been bankrolled by Pfizer, the American pharmaceutical giant, the groundbreaking technology behind it is the work of BioNTech, a German company founded by a married couple who are both the children of Turkish immigrants.
Prof Ugur Sahin was born in the Turkish Mediterranean city of Iskenderun, near the border with Syria. He moved to West Germany when he was four years old. His father was a Gastarbeiter, or migrant worker, at a Ford car factory in Cologne and his mother brought the rest of the family to join him.
Yet today Prof Sahin and his wife, Özlem Türeci, are among the richest 100 people in Germany. They sold their first business for $1.4bn (£1bn) in 2016, and BioNTech’s value has soared to $21bn (£16bn) in the wake of the vaccine breakthrough.