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Meet the married couple behind Pfizer’s COVID vaccine

November 11, 2020, 1:50 PM UTC

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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Senate races in Georgia lead Republicans to back President Trump’s refusal to concede the election, Ulta Beauty partners with Target, and we meet the couple that spearheaded Pfizer’s COVID vaccine. Have a good Wednesday.

– The science of relationships. If you, like me, are in awe of couples who manage to maintain their relationships while working together, just imagine what it must be like not just to start a company with your significant other—but to develop a vaccine together in the midst of a pandemic.

That’s how Drs. Özlem Türeci and Ugur Sahin, BioNTech’s chief medical officer and CEO, respectively, spent much of 2020.

Understandably, many of us who read Monday’s news that Pfizer had reported early data that its COVID-19 vaccine is more than 90% effective may have missed that fact that the pharma giant’s vaccine was developed in partnership with the couple and their company, BioNTech, which is based in Germany.

Türeci and Sahin, who are both of Turkish descent (Sahin was born there), balanced the effort, called Project Lightspeed, with caring for their teenage daughter. Perhaps this all-encompassing world of science and family is second nature for them; several stories note that the pair went back to their lab on their wedding day. Their partnership also seems to buttress the idea that a company’s commitment to gender diversity starts at the top: Deutsche Welle reports that more than half of BioNTech’s employees are female.

Kristen Bellstrom

Today’s Broadsheet was curated by Emma Hinchliffe


- All about Georgia. Why are Republicans standing by President Trump as he continues to claim voter fraud with no evidence and refuses to concede the election? The answer may lie among Trump-supporting voters in Georgia, where two January races—including Sen. Kelly Loeffler's bid—will decide control of the Senate. And, by the way, the First Lady and First-Lady-elect haven't been in touch either. Politico

- Ulta-mate Target. Ulta Beauty, led by CEO Mary Dillon, will open mini-stores inside 100 Target locations. The bold partnership unites two competitors as beauty becomes more important to the retail experienceFortune

- Competition's steep. EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager took a step this week toward an antitrust decision against Amazon. The Big Tech foe sent a "statement of objection" to the tech giant over alleged misuse of the data on third-party merchants. Fortune 

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- Deep breaths. One group that was closely watching President Trump's electoral loss? The women who have accused him of sexual assault and misconduct. "It was the first time in four years that I actually felt like I could really breathe deeply again," says Karena Virginia, who says Trump groped her in the late 1990s. (Trump has denied all allegations.) The Daily Beast

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- Considering clemency. Saudi Arabia will host the G20 Summit later this month. Ahead of that convening, the kingdom is considering clemency for female activists who were jailed after advocating for women's rights, including the right to drive. Guardian


Peloton teams with Beyoncé to produce new workout series Fortune

How The Queen’s Gambit started a new debate about sexism in chess New York Times

After a scary crash, U.S. cycling star Chloe Dygert plans her next ride Wall Street Journal

Joe Biden's campaign manager told the political future—and was right Vanity Fair


"I expect to get the same filet mignon that white actresses get. ... You cannot throw me a bone with a really nice little piece of meat still on it and expect that’s good enough for me."

-Viola Davis