Vaccine Miracles and the New Promise of Science

Big Pharma, allied with cutting-edge biotech companies and supported by governments, just delivered a modern scientific miracle: not one but multiple vaccines against Covid-19 — and in record time. This was a moonshot compressed into a few months, accelerated by unprecedented collaboration between rival pharma giants and featuring large numbers of female scientists — many of them immigrants. The victory could help incentivize big pharma to produce more medicines for all rather than pricey remedies for niche diseases. What lessons can be learned from what is arguably the biggest scientific breakthrough of the 21st century? Can successful public-private partnerships be replicated to accelerate other moonshot initiatives?

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Janice Chen

Co-Founder & CTO

Mammoth Biosciences

Janice Chen is the co-founder and CTO of Mammoth Biosciences, a biotechnology company harnessing a revolutionary gene-editing tool called CRISPR for rapid and affordable disease detection. Based in South San Francisco, Mammoth Biosciences is harnessing the diversity of nature to power the next generation of CRISPR products. Through its discovery of novel CRISPR systems, the company is enabling the full potential of its platform to read and write the code of life. Janice received her Ph.D. from the lab of Professor Jennifer Doudna at University of California, Berkeley. She has authored multiple publications and patents related to CRISPR mechanism and technologies and co-invented the programmable CRISPR-based detection technology called DETECTR.

Katalin Karikó

Senior Vice President


Katalin Karikó is Senior Vice President at BioNTech SE from 2013. She is also Adjunct Associate Professor at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, where she worked for 24 years. She received her PhD in biochemistry from University of Szeged, Hungary, in 1982. For four decades, her research has been focusing on RNA-mediated mechanisms with the ultimate goal of developing in vitro-transcribed mRNA for protein therapy. She investigated RNA-mediated immune activation and co-discovered that nucleoside modifications suppress immunogenicity of RNA, which widened the therapeutic potentials of mRNA. She is co-inventor on mRNA-related patents, including 10 granted by the US for application of non-immunogenic, nucleoside-modified RNA. She co-founded and from 2006-2013 served as CEO of RNARx, a company dedicated to develop nucleoside-modified mRNA for therapy. She is a founding member of the scientific planning committee for the International mRNA Health Conference, an annual non-profit meeting for advancements of mRNA technology, inaugurated in 2013. She served as guest editor of the Molecular Therapy special issue on mRNA Therapy, in 2019. Her patent, co-invented with Drew Weissman on nucleoside-modified uridines in mRNA is used to create the FDA-approved anti-SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines by BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna/NIH.

Rodrigo Yáñez

Undersecretary of International Economic Relations


Since March 2018, he has served as General Director of International Economic Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he led the intense agenda of bilateral negotiations for new trade agreements and the modernization of older instruments. In this position, he also had an active participation in multilateral trade forums such as APEC, Pacific Alliance, OECD, WTO, in addition to his role as Sherpa in the G20, representing the interests of Chile.

Previously and since 2015, Rodrigo Yáñez served as Director of Financial Services at Deloitte Chile, where he led the lines of services in Business Intelligence, Anticorruption, Compliance and Regulatory, being recognized in the 2018 version of the Chambers and Partners Latin America guide - which identifies the best law firms and lawyers in the region - for their outstanding work in the area of compliance.

Andrew Browne

Editorial Director

Bloomberg New Economy

Prior to joining Bloomberg, Andrew Browne was China Editor, Senior Correspondent and Columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He started his career in journalism in 1982 at the South China Morning Post and then moved to Reuters News Agency, where he spent 20 years running bureaus around Asia before becoming Asia Pacific News Editor.

Andrew joined the Wall Street Journal in 2004. He was a member of a team of Journal reporters in Beijing that won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 2007, and an Overseas Press Club award in 2011.

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