Talks to open cancer research center with BioNtech’s co-founder ‘continuing’

Turkish-German scientist Uğur Şahin, who developed the Pfizer-BioNtech coronavirus vaccine together with his wife Dr. Özlem Türeci, will likely invest in Turkey to establish a medical research center, according to Mustafa Varank, Turkey's industry and technology minister.

Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency's Editor's Desk, Varank said a joint production offer has been made to Şahin who had earlier announced that his company was in talks with the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) for research and development efforts.

Varank said that Şahin wanted to do studies on cancer research, and in this sense, he continued to discuss with ministry officials to establish a research center in Turkey.

He also stated that they informed Şahin about the capabilities of both public institutions and the private sector, adding that they provide information on infrastructures in the country.

"We will be pleased to host him in Turkey," the minister said.

The messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine developed by BioNtech brought Şahin and Türeci under the spotlight amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Born to immigrant parents from Turkey who moved to Germany in the 1960s, Şahin and Türeci were selected as 2020 People of the Year by the Financial Times for their contribution to the fight against COVID-19.

Being specialists in molecular medicine and immunology, both Şahin and Türeci are prominent figures in the scientific community in cancer research.

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