London: The American pharmaceutical company Pfizer mistakenly assumed that the outbreak of the Corona virus would be quickly contained, and therefore rejected the offer made by BioNTech to develop a vaccine against the infectious diseases that have so far killed more than 4 million people globally.
Germany-based BioNTech, with a capital of US$84 billion, led by Turkish couple Dr. Ugur Sahin and his wife Dr. Ozlem Torici, was given a “no” by the pharmaceutical giant as the virus began sweeping the world in January 2020, the Telegraph reported.
“Guys, this is not going to work,” Dr. Phil Dormitzer, Pfizer’s vice president and chief scientific officer for vaccines, told them. Dormitser also deemed it highly experimental.
Dormitser later asserted, “It was a working assumption that (Covid-19) would be brought under control” like the SARS and MERS outbreaks.
That’s because Dormitser has been involved in discussions about whether to create vaccines for coronavirus and SARS, only to see which pathogens were quickly contained.
However, it was only a “matter of time” before Pfizer changed its mind and a deal between the two companies was announced a month later.
To date, about 1.4 billion doses of the revolutionary Pfizer and BioNTech two-dose Covid jab, which was developed based on mRNA technology, have been shipped to more than 120 countries.
BioNTech founders reveal the story of Pfizer’s initial rejection in a new book, The Vaccine, written by journalist Joe Miller, to be released this week, the report said.
It also explains how the couple, who immigrated to Germany from Turkey as young children and met in the cancer ward as young doctors, built not a billion-dollar biotechnology company but two companies. She added that how they bet everything to turn BioNTech to focus exclusively on a Covid vaccine in early 2020.