London, Dec 04: Ugur Sahin just reached another milestone. The co-founder of BioNTech SE on Thursday joined the world’s 500 richest people after the U.K. this week approved use of a Covid-19 vaccine that the German firm created with Pfizer Inc.
BioNTech’s shares have jumped almost 8% this week and are up more than 250% for the year. Sahin is now the 493rd-richest person on the planet with a net worth of $5.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Sahin did not respond to a request for comment made through BioNTech’s press office.
The UK became the first western country to approve a COVID-19 vaccine, clearing the way for the deployment of a shot that Pfizer and BioNTech have said is 95% effective in preventing illness. BioNTech is still waiting on a decision from the US Food and Drug Administration and European Union regulators.
The German firm previously focused on fighting cancer, but Sahin and his wife Ozlem Tureci — BioNTech’s chief medical officer — sharpened their focus on COVID-19 in January after reading a troubling study about the spread of the virus in a family that had visited Wuhan, China. Their results are a validation of the new type of drug that they’ve spent their careers chasing.
“It could open the pharmaceutical field for a new class of molecules,” Sahin said last month.
Turkish-born scientist Sahin is the sole shareholder of a German firm that controls an 18% stake in BioNTech, which raised $150 million from its US initial public offering last year, filings show.