Özlem Türeci

Physician, immunologist, cancer researcher
Özlem Türeci is the cofounder and chief medical officer of BioNTech. She leads the clinical development of "Project Lightspeed," the company's successful effort to develop and distribute an mRNA-based vaccine against COVID-19, a historic achievement completed in less than one year.

Why you should listen

Özlem Türeci, MD, cofounder and chief medical officer of BioNTech, is a physician, immunologist and cancer researcher with translational and clinical experience. She has helped lead the discovery of cancer antigens, the development of mRNA-based individualized and off-the-shelf vaccine candidates and other types of immunotherapies that are currently in clinical development. In her early studies, she found that the established mRNA delivery mechanisms had a poor potency and were not suitable to achieve sufficiently strong immune responses against the encoded antigen. She discovered various ways for improving the efficacy to induce a comprehensive immune response.

Türeci previously served as CEO and chief medical officer of Ganymed Pharmaceuticals AG, which she cofounded with Uğur Şahin and Christoph Huber. The company was acquired by Astellas in 2016. She currently serves as president of the Association for Cancer Immunotherapy (CIMT) in Germany and is a recent recipient of the German Sustainability Award, among other notable recognitions. She is married to Uğur Şahin.

Özlem Türeci’s TED talk

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Live from TEDMonterey

Well, well, well! Notes from Session 3 of TEDMonterey

August 2, 2021

The central topic of Session 3 is, surely, on many of our minds: health. From the technology powering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to new Alzheimer’s treatment possibilities, these amazing speakers give a glimpse at exciting new frontiers of medicine. Plus, an artist drawing live onstage! The event: TEDMonterey: Session 3, hosted by TED’s Chris Anderson […]

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