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For The Record  

FTR #1167 Bio-Psy-Op Apocalypse Now, Part 23: A Pound of Cure, Part 2

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FTR #1167: This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Intro­duc­tion: The pro­gram begins with ana­lyt­ic review of the mil­i­tary’s role in U.S. vac­cine devel­op­ment.

In pre­vi­ous posts and pro­grams, we have not­ed that Mod­er­na’s vac­cine work has been financed by DARPA. We have also not­ed that the over­all head of Oper­a­tion Warp Speed is Mon­cef Slaoui, for­mer­ly in charge of prod­uct devel­op­ment for Mod­er­na!

Of great sig­nif­i­cance is the cen­tral role of the mil­i­tary in the devel­op­ment of treat­ment for Covid-19:

  1. We note that: ” . . . . Remde­sivir pre­dates this pan­dem­ic. It was first con­sid­ered as a poten­tial treat­ment for Ebo­la, and was devel­oped through a long­stand­ing part­ner­ship between the U.S. Army and the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion. . . .”
  2. Jonathan King, who has chaired the micro­bial phys­i­ol­o­gy study sec­tion for the NIH has sound­ed the alarm about “vac­cine research” mask­ing offen­sive bio­log­i­cal war­fare research: “. . . . King, who has chaired the micro­bial phys­i­ol­o­gy study sec­tion for the NIH, believes that with­out inten­sive inde­pen­dent scruti­ny, the Pen­ta­gon is free to obscure its true goals. ‘The Defense Depart­ment appears to be pur­su­ing many nar­row, applied goals that are by nature offen­sive, such as the genet­ic ‘improve­ment’ of BW agents,’ King says. ‘But to achieve polit­i­cal accept­abil­i­ty, they mask these inten­tions under forms of research, such as vac­cine devel­op­ment, which sound defen­sive. . . .”
  3. Mod­er­na’s vac­cine devel­op­ment was over­seen by an unnamed Pen­ta­gon offi­cial: ” . . . . Moderna’s team was head­ed by a Defense Depart­ment offi­cial whom com­pa­ny exec­u­tives described only as ‘the major,’ say­ing they don’t know if his name is sup­posed to be a secret. . . . .”
  4. The per­va­sive role of the mil­i­tary in Oper­a­tion Warp Speed (the Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s vac­cine devel­op­ment pro­gram) has gen­er­at­ed alarm in civil­ian par­tic­i­pants:”. . . . Scores of Defense Depart­ment employ­ees are laced through the gov­ern­ment offices involved in the effort, mak­ing up a large por­tion of the fed­er­al per­son­nel devot­ed to the effort.  Those num­bers have led some cur­rent and for­mer offi­cials at the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion to pri­vate­ly grum­ble that the military’s role in Oper­a­tion Warp Speed was too large for a task that is, at its core, a pub­lic health cam­paign. . . .
  5. Gen­er­al Gus­tave Perna–one of the prin­ci­pals in Oper­a­tion Warp Speed–has cho­sen a retired Lieu­tenant Gen­er­al to over­see much of the pro­gram: ” . . . . ‘Frankly, it has been breath­tak­ing to watch,’ said Paul Ostrows­ki, the direc­tor of sup­ply, pro­duc­tion and dis­tri­b­u­tion for Oper­a­tion Warp Speed. He is a retired Army lieu­tenant gen­er­al who was select­ed to man­age logis­tics for the pro­gram by Gen. Gus­tave F. Per­na, the chief oper­at­ing offi­cer for Oper­a­tion Warp Speed. . . .”
  6. The mil­i­tary will be able to trace the des­ti­na­tion and admin­is­tra­tion of each dose: ” . . . . Mil­i­tary offi­cials also came up with the clever idea — if it works — to coor­di­nate the deliv­ery of vac­cines to drug­stores, med­ical cen­ters and oth­er immu­niza­tion sites by send­ing kits full of nee­dles, syringes and alco­hol wipes. Vac­cine mak­ers will be alert­ed when the kits arrive at an immu­niza­tion site so they know to ship dos­es. Once the first dose is giv­en, the man­u­fac­tur­er will be noti­fied so it can send the sec­ond dose with a patient’s name attached sev­er­al weeks lat­er. The mil­i­tary will also mon­i­tor vac­cine dis­tri­b­u­tion through an oper­a­tions cen­ter. ‘They will know where every vac­cine dose is,’ Mr. [Paul] Man­go said on a call with reporters. . . .”

Obfus­cat­ing the nature of U.S. vac­cine con­tract­ing is the fact that the con­tract­ing is done through ATI. ” . . . . In part, it’s because of the way many Oper­a­tion Warp Speed con­tracts have been exe­cut­ed, with their terms large­ly invis­i­ble to the pub­lic. . . . under the hood, the effort’s largest agree­ments with vac­cine companies—totaling more than $6 billion—have been man­aged by a third par­ty, a defense-ori­ent­ed non­prof­it called Advanced Tech­nol­o­gy Inter­na­tion­al (ATI). . . . with ATI as an inter­me­di­ary, these bil­lion-dol­lar deals instead fall under some­thing called an ‘oth­er trans­ac­tion agree­ment’ that isn’t sub­ject to the same kinds of cross-checks and account­abil­i­ty. . . .”

The cor­po­rate logo of I.G. Far­ben.

The bal­ance of the pro­gram con­sists of analy­sis of the cap­i­tal inter­ests behind BioNTech–the Ger­man cor­po­rate part­ner pro­duc­ing a Covid vac­cine with Pfiz­er.

Head­ed by a Ger­man MD cou­ple whose par­ents were “gas­tar­beit­er” (guest work­ers), BioN­Tech has soared expo­nen­tial­ly in val­ue since the approval of the vac­cine by a num­ber of coun­tries.

A dom­i­nant con­sid­er­a­tion in pow­er pol­i­tics remains the advi­so­ry to “Fol­low the Mon­ey.”

Against the back­ground of I.G. Far­ben and its suc­ces­sor com­pa­nies’ dom­i­nant posi­tion in both the glob­al phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal and chem­i­cal mar­ket, as well as its major posi­tion with­in the remark­able and dead­ly Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work, the pro­gram explores the cap­i­tal­iza­tion of Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türe­ci’s Ganymed firm and BioN­Tech.

Of para­mount sig­nif­i­cance in both Ganymed (the cou­ple’s ini­tial com­mer­cial ven­ture) and BioN­tech are twin broth­ers Thomas and Andreas Stru­eng­mann.

Key points of analy­sis:

  1. The broth­ers are major play­ers in the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal and biotech mar­ket.
  2. They keep a pur­pose­ful­ly low pro­fes­sion­al profile–a pro­fes­sion­al behav­ior char­ac­ter­is­tic of the dead­ly Bor­mann net­work.
  3. Thomas was an impor­tant mem­ber of the board of Wack­er Chemie, a major suc­ces­sor to two I.G. Far­ben sub­sidiary com­pa­nies.
  4. Wack­er Chemie has appar­ent­ly obfus­cat­ed its Nazi past.
  5. Andreas ini­ti­at­ed his med­ical career in apartheid South Africa, and the broth­ers’ Hexal firm began its sig­nif­i­cant inter­na­tion­al expan­sion in that coun­try. (The apartheid regime was an off­shoot of the Third Reich.)
  6. Firms that evolved from I.G. Far­ben fig­ure promi­nent­ly in the deal­ings of Hexal, Wack­er Chemie and BioN­Tech (Novar­tis, the Hoechst divi­sion of Sanofi-Aven­tis.)

1. In pre­vi­ous posts and pro­grams, we have not­ed that Mod­er­na’s vac­cine work has been financed by DARPA. We have also not­ed that the over­all head of Oper­a­tion Warp Speed is Mon­cef Slaoui, for­mer­ly in charge of prod­uct devel­op­ment for Mod­er­na!

Of great sig­nif­i­cance is the cen­tral role of the mil­i­tary in the devel­op­ment of treat­ment for Covid-19:

  1. We note that: ” . . . . Remde­sivir pre­dates this pan­dem­ic. It was first con­sid­ered as a poten­tial treat­ment for Ebo­la, and was devel­oped through a long­stand­ing part­ner­ship between the U.S. Army and the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion. . . .”
  2. Jonathan King, who has chaired the micro­bial phys­i­ol­o­gy study sec­tion for the NIH has sound­ed the alarm about “vac­cine research” mask­ing offen­sive bio­log­i­cal war­fare research: “. . . . King, who has chaired the micro­bial phys­i­ol­o­gy study sec­tion for the NIH, believes that with­out inten­sive inde­pen­dent scruti­ny, the Pen­ta­gon is free to obscure its true goals. ‘The Defense Depart­ment appears to be pur­su­ing many nar­row, applied goals that are by nature offen­sive, such as the genet­ic ‘improve­ment’ of BW agents,’ King says. ‘But to achieve polit­i­cal accept­abil­i­ty, they mask these inten­tions under forms of research, such as vac­cine devel­op­ment, which sound defen­sive. . . .”
  3. Mod­er­na’s vac­cine devel­op­ment was over­seen by an unnamed Pen­ta­gon offi­cial: ” . . . . Moderna’s team was head­ed by a Defense Depart­ment offi­cial whom com­pa­ny exec­u­tives described only as ‘the major,’ say­ing they don’t know if his name is sup­posed to be a secret. . . . .”
  4. The per­va­sive role of the mil­i­tary in Oper­a­tion Warp Speed (the Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s vac­cine devel­op­ment pro­gram) has gen­er­at­ed alarm in civil­ian par­tic­i­pants:”. . . . Scores of Defense Depart­ment employ­ees are laced through the gov­ern­ment offices involved in the effort, mak­ing up a large por­tion of the fed­er­al per­son­nel devot­ed to the effort.  Those num­bers have led some cur­rent and for­mer offi­cials at the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion to pri­vate­ly grum­ble that the military’s role in Oper­a­tion Warp Speed was too large for a task that is, at its core, a pub­lic health cam­paign. . . .
  5. Gen­er­al Gus­tave Perna–one of the prin­ci­pals in Oper­a­tion Warp Speed–has cho­sen a retired Lieu­tenant Gen­er­al to over­see much of the pro­gram: ” . . . . ‘Frankly, it has been breath­tak­ing to watch,’ said Paul Ostrows­ki, the direc­tor of sup­ply, pro­duc­tion and dis­tri­b­u­tion for Oper­a­tion Warp Speed. He is a retired Army lieu­tenant gen­er­al who was select­ed to man­age logis­tics for the pro­gram by Gen. Gus­tave F. Per­na, the chief oper­at­ing offi­cer for Oper­a­tion Warp Speed. . . .”
  6. The mil­i­tary will be able to trace the des­ti­na­tion and admin­is­tra­tion of each dose: ” . . . . Mil­i­tary offi­cials also came up with the clever idea — if it works — to coor­di­nate the deliv­ery of vac­cines to drug­stores, med­ical cen­ters and oth­er immu­niza­tion sites by send­ing kits full of nee­dles, syringes and alco­hol wipes. Vac­cine mak­ers will be alert­ed when the kits arrive at an immu­niza­tion site so they know to ship dos­es. Once the first dose is giv­en, the man­u­fac­tur­er will be noti­fied so it can send the sec­ond dose with a patient’s name attached sev­er­al weeks lat­er. The mil­i­tary will also mon­i­tor vac­cine dis­tri­b­u­tion through an oper­a­tions cen­ter. ‘They will know where every vac­cine dose is,’ Mr. [Paul] Man­go said on a call with reporters. . . .”

2. Obfus­cat­ing the nature of U.S. vac­cine con­tract­ing is the fact that the con­tract­ing is done through ATI. ” . . . . In part, it’s because of the way many Oper­a­tion Warp Speed con­tracts have been exe­cut­ed, with their terms large­ly invis­i­ble to the pub­lic. . . . under the hood, the effort’s largest agree­ments with vac­cine companies—totaling more than $6 billion—have been man­aged by a third par­ty, a defense-ori­ent­ed non­prof­it called Advanced Tech­nol­o­gy Inter­na­tion­al (ATI). . . . with ATI as an inter­me­di­ary, these bil­lion-dol­lar deals instead fall under some­thing called an ‘oth­er trans­ac­tion agree­ment’ that isn’t sub­ject to the same kinds of cross-checks and account­abil­i­ty. . . .”

“Why We Know So Lit­tle About Pfizer’s Vac­cine Deal with the US” by Katie Palmer; Quartz; 11/9/2020.

On Nov. 9, Pfiz­er and its part­ner BioN­Tech announced some ear­ly results for their Covid-19 vac­cine can­di­date. Data from a late-stage clin­i­cal tri­al show the two-dose shot could be 90% effec­tive at pre­vent­ing infections—a promis­ing devel­op­ment that quick­ly devolved into a fight for brag­ging rights.

Vice pres­i­dent Mike Pence attrib­uted the news to Oper­a­tion Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s “pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship,” while Pfiz­er tried to take cred­it for its own work. Although the com­pa­ny did strike a deal worth $1.95 bil­lion for the US gov­ern­ment to pur­chase 100 mil­lion dos­es of the vac­cine, it empha­sized that it received no fed­er­al fund­ing for vac­cine research and devel­op­ment.

What’s behind the con­fu­sion? In part, it’s because of the way many Oper­a­tion Warp Speed con­tracts have been exe­cut­ed, with their terms large­ly invis­i­ble to the pub­lic.

Oper­a­tion Warp Speed (OWS) is the pub­lic face of the fed­er­al effort to rapid­ly devel­op and dis­trib­ute vac­cines and treat­ments for Covid-19. But under the hood, the effort’s largest agree­ments with vac­cine companies—totaling more than $6 billion—have been man­aged by a third par­ty, a defense-ori­ent­ed non­prof­it called Advanced Tech­nol­o­gy Inter­na­tion­al (ATI). A new crop of vac­cine agree­ments set to be made through ATI may be just as opaque as the first.

For more than 20 years, ATI has man­aged fed­er­al­ly-fund­ed research and devel­op­ment col­lab­o­ra­tions for the Depart­ment of Defense. One of those col­lab­o­ra­tions, the Med­ical CBRN Defense Con­sor­tium, is focused on pro­tect­ing mil­i­tary per­son­nel against chem­i­cal, bio­log­i­cal, radi­o­log­i­cal, and nuclear threats—including virus­es they could encounter in the line of duty, like Ebo­la.

So ATI had some expe­ri­ence with vac­cine deals before the pan­dem­ic. On Jun. 9, it made the shift to Covid-19 vac­cines, solic­it­ing com­pa­nies’ pro­pos­als for research, devel­op­ment, and large-scale man­u­fac­tur­ing. Less than a month lat­er, the US had made its first agree­ment, a deal with Novavax worth up to $1.6 bil­lion.

But the pre­cise terms of that deal, and the one with Pfiz­er that came short­ly after, are still unclear. . . .

. . . . It would be eas­i­er to under­stand the dif­fer­ence between invest­ment and procurement—and what Oper­a­tion Warp Speed could rea­son­ably take cred­it for—if the con­tracts were made pub­lic. Nor­mal­ly, when the gov­ern­ment makes an agree­ment with a con­trac­tor, it has to fol­low fed­er­al acqui­si­tion reg­u­la­tions. But with ATI as an inter­me­di­ary, these bil­lion-dol­lar deals instead fall under some­thing called an “oth­er trans­ac­tion agree­ment” that isn’t sub­ject to the same kinds of cross-checks and account­abil­i­ty. . . .

3. ATI rep­re­sents its func­tion as fol­lows:

“ATI Builds and Man­ages R & D Col­lab­o­ra­tions;” ATI—About Us.

ATI recruits, orga­nizes, and man­ages teams of large and small busi­ness­es, aca­d­e­m­ic insti­tu­tions, and non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tions to devel­op new tech­nolo­gies for our fed­er­al clients. We don’t bring our solu­tion; we bring the best solu­tion for the DoD’s most urgent chal­lenges.

A hall­mark of ATI-man­aged col­lab­o­ra­tions is access to non-tra­di­tion­als, inno­v­a­tive com­pa­nies that have not tra­di­tion­al­ly worked with Gov­ern­ment due to the com­plex­i­ty of Fed­er­al con­tract­ing. We vet these inno­va­tors, teach them how to work with the Gov­ern­ment, and pro­vide online and in-per­son forums where they can meet and part­ner with tra­di­tion­al defense con­trac­tors.

In today’s envi­ron­ment of increas­ing­ly sophis­ti­cat­ed adver­saries and rapid tech­nol­o­gy refresh, speed of tech­nol­o­gy acqui­si­tion is crit­i­cal to the DoD. ATI’s exper­tise in pro­gram man­age­ment and rapid con­tract­ing ensures that we deliv­er new tech­nolo­gies at the speed of mis­sion.

4. A Guardian arti­cle about the Ger­man-Turk­ish cou­ple has more infor­ma­tion on their ear­li­er busi­ness ven­tures.  Inter­est­ing­ly that they sim­ply start­ed their first com­pa­ny, Ganymed, because they were plan­ning on open­ing an aca­d­e­m­ic lab but research funds were hard to come by.

There is no expla­na­tion of where the ven­ture cap­i­tal start-up funds came from.

So the sto­ry of how Ganymed was actu­al­ly fund­ed seems like a sto­ry with learn­ing more about.  They found­ed BioN­Tech in 2008 with Aus­tri­an oncol­o­gy expert Christo­pher Huber, who still sits on the board:

“Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türe­ci: Ger­man ‘dream team’ behind vac­cine” by Philip Olter­mann; The Guardian; 11/10/2020.

The ‘Pruss­ian Turk’ couple’s com­pa­ny BioN­Tech devel­oped the break­through Covid vac­cine with Pfiz­er

Dr Özlem Türe­ci and Dr Uğur Şahin, who both have par­ents who came to Ger­many from Turkey in the late 1960s.

. . . . At Mainz uni­ver­si­ty hos­pi­tal, the cou­ple planned to set up a research lab to inves­ti­gate how immune sys­tems could be trained to attack can­cer­ous cells. When research funds were hard to come by “we sim­ply start­ed our own com­pa­ny”, Şahin told news por­tal Heise.

“Their first com­pa­ny, found­ed in 2001, was called Ganymed – not after the hand­some hero of Greek myth but a Turk­ish expres­sion rough­ly mean­ing “earned through hard work”, as Türe­ci told Süd­deutsche Zeitung. The com­pa­ny, which pio­neered pre­ci­sion anti­body ther­a­pies against can­cer, was sold to Japan­ese phar­ma com­pa­ny Astel­las for €1.4bn in 2016.

They found­ed their sec­ond com­pa­ny BioN­Tech in 2008 with the Aus­tri­an oncol­o­gist Christoph Huber, who still sits on the super­vi­so­ry board. . . .

5. His­tor­i­cal and infor­ma­tion­al back­ground on the Wack­er sub­sidiary firms of I.G. Far­ben are set forth in one of the books on the Spit­firelist web­site.

In Ger­many’s Mas­ter Plan–The Sto­ry of an Indus­tri­al Offen­sive by Joseph Borkin and Charles A. Welsh, we find that two of the sub­sidiary com­pa­nies of I.G. Far­ben are Alexan­der Wack­er A.-G. and Dr. Albert Wack­er G.m.b.H.

Ger­many’s Mas­ter Plan–The Sto­ry of an Indus­tri­al Offen­sive by Joseph Borkin and Charles A. Welsh; Duell, Sloan and Pierce [HC]; Copy­right 1943 by Joseph Borkin and Charles A. Welsh; pp. 328, 330.

Alexan­der Wack­er A.-G. (p. 328.)

Dr. Albert Wack­er G.m.b.H. (p. 330.)

6. The major share­hold­er in BioN­Tech is San­to Holding–an invest­ment firm for iden­ti­cal twin broth­ers Thomas and Andreas Strüng­mann (also spelled “Stru­eng­mann”).

The broth­ers appear to be major investors in the Ger­man biotech and health­care sec­tor.  They appear to have inten­tion­al­ly kept rel­a­tive­ly low per­son­al and cor­po­rate profiles–a char­ac­ter­is­tic of the dead­ly, effec­tive Bor­mann cap­i­tal orga­ni­za­tion.

Thomas Strüng­mann was on the super­vi­so­ry board of Wack­er Chemie AG until May of 2018, when he was replaced by Ann-Sophie Wack­er.

When replaced, he was described as a share­hold­er rep­re­sen­ta­tive.  First appoint­ed to the board in 2006, he appears to have been rep­re­sent­ing part of the Wack­er fam­i­ly on the board from 2006–2018.

Sum­ming up: Thomas Strüng­mann, one of the broth­ers who owns the Ger­man biotech and health­care invest­ment empire, was seem­ing­ly a Wack­er-fam­i­ly share­hold­er rep­re­sen­ta­tive on Wack­er Chemie’s super­vi­so­ry board for 12 years.  In terms of ties to the Under­ground Reich, it’s not noth­ing, and poten­tial­ly sig­nif­i­cant.  Wack­er Chemie is a glob­al chem­i­cal pow­er­house.  It’s US branch is Wack­er Chem­i­cal Corp.  It has offices around the globe.  It’s undoubt­ed­ly con­sid­ered a vital strate­gic asset.

It also turns out that the Strüng­mann broth­ers were investors in Ganymed, which is the com­pa­ny in the cou­ple ‘behind’ BioN­Tech found­ed in 2001 after they could­n’t find fund­ing for their aca­d­e­m­ic lab.  So these broth­ers have prob­a­bly been the mon­ey behind the cou­ple all along, although it’s unclear if they were the ini­tial investors in Ganymed.

” . . . . Investors in Ganymed includ­ed Ger­man invest­ment fund MIG Fonds as the fam­i­ly office of twins Thomas and Andreas Stru­eng­mann, who now hold a large stake in BioN­Tech. The broth­ers have long been big investors in biotech, hav­ing sold their gener­ic drug com­pa­ny Hexal to Swiss drug­mak­er Novar­tis for around $7 bil­lion in 2005. . . .”

The fol­low­ing arti­cle dis­cuss­es the Strüng­manns and their invest­ment roles in Ganymed and BioN­Tech. We also note, in pass­ing, that BioN­Tech’s growth involves the pur­chase of a valu­able facil­i­ty from Novar­tis, which, as we have seen, grew from the Swiss com­po­nent of I.G. Far­ben.:

 “Here are 5 things to know about BioN­Tech and the mar­ried cou­ple devel­op­ing the COVID-19 vac­cine with Pfiz­er” by Lina Saigol and Cal­lum Keown; Marketwatch.com; 11/13/2020.

When BioN­Tech made its stock mar­ket debut on Nas­daq last Octo­ber, the Ger­man biotech­nol­o­gy com­pa­ny was val­ued at just under $3.4 bil­lion.

Just over a year lat­er, BioN­Tech is now worth around $25 bil­lion and the Mainz, Ger­many-based com­pa­ny hit the head­lines ear­li­er this week as it became the front-run­ner in the race to bring a COVID-19 vac­cine to mar­ket.

Shares in BioN­Tech soared 14% on Mon­day after the com­pa­ny said its exper­i­men­tal shot, which is being devel­oped in part­ner­ship with U.S. drug­mak­er Pfiz­er was more than 90% effec­tive in pre­vent­ing COVID-19, based on ini­tial tri­al results from a Phase 3 clin­i­cal tri­al. This is the first coro­n­avirus vac­cine to prove its effi­ca­cy in a late-stage clin­i­cal study.

The stock was 3% up in ear­ly trad­ing on Tues­day and has now climbed 219% year-to-date. . . . .

HUSBAND AND WIFE TEAM BEHIND THE SCIENCE

In 2001, the pair found­ed Ganymed Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, a spin off from the uni­ver­si­ties of Mainz and Zurich that focused on devel­op­ing a new class of can­cer drugs called ide­al mon­o­clon­al anti­bod­ies.

Investors in Ganymed includ­ed Ger­man invest­ment fund MIG Fonds as the fam­i­ly office of twins Thomas and Andreas Stru­eng­mann, who now hold a large stake in BioNTech.The broth­ers have long been big investors in biotech, hav­ing sold their gener­ic drug com­pa­ny Hexal to Swiss drug­mak­er Novar­tis for around $7 bil­lion in 2005.

In 2016, Ganymed was sold to Japan­ese phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­ny Astel­las Phar­ma for $1.4 bil­lion

BIONTECH’S IPO

BioN­Tech raised $150 mil­lion in its U.S. ini­tial pub­lic offer­ing on Nas­daq on Oct. 9, 2019, after it sold few­er shares and at a low­er price than orig­i­nal­ly planned, giv­ing the com­pa­ny a mar­ket val­u­a­tion of $3.4 bil­lion.

The IPO fol­lowed BioNTech’s $325 mil­lion fundrais­ing in July, which marked one of the biggest pri­vate financ­ing rounds for a Euro­pean biotech­nol­o­gy com­pa­ny in his­to­ry.

The fundrais­ing was led by Fideli­ty Man­age­ment & Research Com­pa­ny, with par­tic­i­pa­tion from both new and exist­ing investors, includ­ing the Strüng­mann Fam­i­ly Office.

Şahin and Türe­ci are now among the 100 rich­est Ger­mans, accord­ing to Ger­man news­pa­per Welt am Son­ntag.

RELATIONSHIP WITH PFIZER

. . . . In March this year, Pfiz­er and BioN­Tech announced plans to joint­ly devel­op a COVID-19 vac­cine. “We believe that by pair­ing Pfizer’s devel­op­ment, reg­u­la­to­ry and com­mer­cial capa­bil­i­ties with BioNTech’s mRNA vac­cine tech­nol­o­gy and exper­tise as one of the indus­try lead­ers, we are rein­forc­ing our com­mit­ment to do every­thing we can to com­bat this esca­lat­ing pan­dem­ic, as quick­ly as pos­si­ble,” said Mikael Dol­sten, Pfizer’s chief sci­en­tif­ic offi­cer, at the time.

The Pfiz­er-BioN­Tech vac­cine — called BNT162 — uses mes­sen­ger RNA (mRNA), the mol­e­cules in cells that con­trol pro­tein pro­duc­tion, to teach the immune sys­tem to make coro­n­avirus-fight­ing anti­bod­ies. The mRNA tech­nol­o­gy is also being used by Cam­bridge, Mass­a­chu­setts-based Mod­er­na and Cure­Vac . . . .

. . . . “BioN­Tech has been a loss-mak­ing com­pa­ny since our incep­tion 12 years ago and we’ve invest­ed over $1 bil­lion to devel­op our mRNA tech­nol­o­gy plat­form,” Ryan Richard­son, head of strat­e­gy at BioN­Tech, told a con­fer­ence on Tues­day.

VACCINE PRODUCTION

. . . . In June, BioN­Tech signed a €100 mil­lion debt financ­ing agree­ment with the Euro­pean Invest­ment Bank for the devel­op­ment of its exper­i­men­tal shot, to help scale-up its com­mer­cial man­u­fac­tur­ing capac­i­ty.

In Sep­tem­ber, it also received €375 mil­lion in fund­ing from the Ger­man Fed­er­al Min­istry of Edu­ca­tion and Research to sup­port its COVID-19 vac­cine pro­gram.

That same month, it announced the acqui­si­tion of a man­u­fac­tur­ing site in Mar­burg in west­ern Ger­many from Swiss phar­ma group Novar­tis. The state-of-the art facil­i­ty is expect­ed to expand BioNTech’s COVID-19 vac­cine pro­duc­tion capac­i­ty by up to 750 mil­lion dos­es a year, or more than 60 mil­lion dos­es a month, once ful­ly oper­a­tional, BioN­Tech said. . . .

8. A cor­po­rate “Sus­tain­abil­i­ty Report” from Wack­er AG that states that Thomas Strüng­mann was replaced as a share­hold­er rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the Super­vi­so­ry Board by Ann-Sophie Wack­er in May of 2018:

“Sus­tain­abil­i­ty Report;” Wacker.com.

. . . . At its meet­ing on March 6, 2018, the Super­vi­so­ry Board of Wack­er Chemie AG renewed the con­tract of Exec­u­tive Board mem­ber Auguste Willems for a fur­ther five years (until Decem­ber 31, 2023). On May 9, 2018, the Annu­al Share­hold­ers’ Meet­ing in Munich elect­ed the share­hold­er rep­re­sen­ta­tives for the Super­vi­so­ry Board. New­ly elect­ed was Ann-Sophie Wack­er, who replaced share­hold­er rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dr. Thomas Strüng­mann on the Super­vi­so­ry Board. . . .

9. A recent arti­cle notes Wack­er Chemie’s lack of address­ing its Nazi past.

“Draw­ing a Veil Over the Nazi Past” by Gilbert Krei­jger; Han­dels­blatt; 09/03/2016

. . . . Mr. Bähr, the his­to­ri­an, wants to see inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tions into the Nazi his­to­ries of Ger­man house­hold and indus­tri­al goods mak­er Henkel, as well as con­struc­tion firm Bil­fin­ger, potash pro­duc­er K+S and Wack­er Chemie. He said indus­tri­al giant Siemens was “on the way” in con­duct­ing research. . . .

10. An arti­cle from May of 2005 that gives a good overview of the broad scope of Wack­er Chemie’s inter­ests.

Note the 49% stake in Wack­er Chemie owned by the Hoechst unit of Sanofi-Aven­tis.

Hoechst–one of the Big Three suc­ces­sor firms to I.G. Far­ben merged with the French phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­ny.

“WACKER HOLDS OWN IN CHEMICAL WORLD” by Michael McCoy; Chem­i­cal  Engi­neer­ing News; 5/9/2005.

A per­son attend­ing Wack­er-Chemie’s annu­al press con­fer­ence in Munich last month could be excused for mis­tak­ing Wack­er for a pub­licly trad­ed firm. The com­pa­ny’s 2004 finan­cial results pre­sen­ta­tion mir­rored that of pub­lic Ger­man firms like BASF, Degus­sa, and Bay­er. Wack­er dis­trib­uted a detailed annu­al report, and its chief exec­u­tive offi­cer made a lengthy pre­sen­ta­tion, after which he patient­ly answered ques­tions from reporters.

But Wack­er is in fact a pri­vate com­pa­ny owned 51% by the Wack­er fam­i­ly and 49% by the Hoechst unit of Sanofi-Aven­tis. It was found­ed in 1914 by Alexan­der Wack­er and today is head­ed by his great-grand­son, Peter-Alexan­der Wack­er.

Many pri­vate firms rel­ish their anonymi­ty and give out lit­tle infor­ma­tion about their finan­cial con­di­tion. Wack­er has a dif­fer­ent phi­los­o­phy. Accord­ing to Peter-Alexan­der Wack­er, the com­pa­ny holds an annu­al press conference–and often a sub­se­quent tech­ni­cal briefing–because it desires the pub­lic expo­sure that the press can pro­vide. . . .

. . . . Although he may want to repli­cate the recog­ni­tion enjoyed by his pub­licly trad­ed com­peti­tors, Peter-Alexan­der Wack­er says he isn’t oth­er­wise envi­ous of them. After the pre­sen­ta­tion, he told C&EN that a big part of Wack­er’s strength is its abil­i­ty to make long-term invest­ments with­out wor­ry­ing about the short-term con­cerns of out­side investors.

“Sta­bil­i­ty is one of the biggest advan­tages of a pri­vate or fam­i­ly-owned com­pa­ny,” he said. “Sta­bil­i­ty means we are not look­ing at every quar­ter­ly result. We can go through cycles where the earn­ings are a lit­tle bit low­er because of high invest­ment costs. It is much eas­i­er if you are not on the radar screen every quar­ter.”

Pri­vate own­er­ship also allows Wack­er to put more mon­ey into R&D–some 6% of annu­al sales–than most pub­licly trad­ed chem­i­cal com­pa­nies, with­out hav­ing to fend off investor com­plaints of high spend­ing. And the com­pa­ny can put this research into prac­tice with expen­sive plant con­struc­tion projects that pub­lic com­pa­nies might shy away from. . . .

11. The Stru­eng­mann broth­ers got their start with the com­pa­ny their father, Ernst Stru­eng­mann, had start­ed, Dura­chemie.  Dura­chemie was sold off to raise the mon­ey they used to start the gener­ic drug mak­er Hexal, which was even­tu­al­ly sold off to Novar­tis–the firm that coa­lesced from the Swiss com­po­nent of I.G. Far­ben.

The fol­low­ing review of Hexal also notes that Andreas worked as a physi­cian in South Africa after get­ting his med­ical degree.  A key ele­ment in Hexa­l’s cor­po­rate devel­op­ment was the fir­m’s for­eign invest­ment, which began in South Africa near the end of the apartheid regime.

“Com­pa­ny His­to­ry;” Hexal-AG-Com­pa­ny.

Com­pa­ny His­to­ry:

. . . . Hexal was found­ed by twin broth­ers Thomas and Andreas Strüng­mann. The Strüng­mann broth­ers were no strangers to phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals: father Ernst Strüng­mann had ear­li­er found­ed the Frank­furt-based com­pa­ny Dura­chemie. While Andreas pur­sued his med­ical stud­ies, Thomas received a doc­tor­ate in busi­ness admin­is­tra­tion from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Augs­burg in 1977.

He then went to work for Scher­ing-Plough as a prod­uct man­ag­er, at first in Lucerne, before being trans­ferred to that com­pa­ny’s New Jer­sey branch in 1978. Strüng­man­n’s encounter with Amer­i­can “can-do” opti­mism was to have a last­ing impact, and became a dri­ving force behind Hexa­l’s suc­cess. Thomas Strüng­mann then returned to Ger­many, becom­ing Dura­chemie’s CEO in 1979. In the mean­time, Andreas had com­plet­ed his stud­ies and gone to work as a physi­cian in the South African bush where he was direct­ly con­front­ed with the urgent need for more afford­able med­i­cines. . . .

. . . . A key fac­tor in Hexa­l’s growth was its deci­sion ear­ly on to expand pro­duc­tion and dis­tri­b­u­tion into the glob­al mar­ket. The com­pa­ny’s first for­eign move came in 1990, when it opened a mar­ket­ing sub­sidiary in South Africa, with an office in the Dur­ban sub­urb of Pine­town. . . .

 

 

 

 

Discussion

One comment for “FTR #1167 Bio-Psy-Op Apocalypse Now, Part 23: A Pound of Cure, Part 2”

  1. FYI, San­to Hold­ing turns up in the “Par­adise Papers”. They are linked to this EOS Africa group in Mal­ta. (reminder: a female Mal­tese journo who blew the lid on some of the Pana­ma Papers stuff years ago was mur­dered with a car bomb). This shows the ties of EOS.

    https://offshoreleaks.icij.org/nodes/55038905

    Dun­can Ran­dall is a South African who worked with EOS Africa. He has some very inter­est­ing ties.

    https://www.marketscreener.com/business-leaders/Duncan-Randall-0HQ6H0‑E/biography/

    I am fair­ly cer­tain that this is the same Dun­can Ran­dall, though I can­not find 100% con­fir­ma­tion of this.

    https://www.marketscreener.com/business-leaders/Duncan-Randall-0HQ6H0‑E/biography/

    Founder of The Progress Fund, Dun­can Ran­dall present­ly is Man­ag­ing Direc­tor at Tana Africa Cap­i­tal Man­agers Pty Ltd. Dr. Ran­dall is also Chief Exec­u­tive Offi­cer- FNB Enter­prise Solu­tions at FirstRand Bank Ltd.

    .
    NOTE: Tana was found­ed by mem­bers of the Oppen­heimer dia­mond fam­i­ly this fam­i­ly, like the Roth­schilds, are often part of anti­se­mit­ic con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries. How­ev­er, the patri­arch of the fam­i­ly, while born Jew­ish, con­vert­ed to Angli­can Chris­tian­i­ty over a cen­tu­ry ago. None of the mod­ern Oppen­heimers are Jews. As we shall see, they “played for the oth­er team”.

    http://www.tana-africa.com/pages/FOUNDING_SHAREHOLDERS.aspx

    “Tana Africa Cap­i­tal was estab­lished in 2011 as a 50/50 joint ven­ture between E. Oppen­heimer & Son and Temasek. The two like-mind­ed investors were unit­ed by the com­mon vision of cre­at­ing val­ue on the African con­ti­nent through cap­i­tal and busi­ness build­ing sup­port. To date the com­pa­ny has deployed more than US$250 mil­lion across the length and breadth of Africa.”

    This book looks inter­est­ing and cov­ers appar­ent ties between DeBeers and the Nazis. See the bold­ed sec­tion.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=raO8jHBdDhYC

    “Tak­ing us through sev­en decades of intrigue and ‑manip­u­la­tion that span the globe, Janine Roberts has writ­ten the most expan­sive and explo­sive expose ever on dia­monds; among Roberts’ rev­e­la­tions: How De Beers hides away rich dia­mond deposits-and where some of these are locat­ed. How a long-term com­pan­ion of Jack­ie Onas­sis was a CIA-linked mil­lion­aire dia­mond mer­chant tied to coups and dic­ta­tors in Cen­tral Africa. Just how dia­monds are “fixed” to make them more expen­sive. How major dia­mond com­pa­nies coop­er­at­ed with Hitler’s Ger­many-and how much they were paid. How indus­tri­al dia­mond sup­plies were arti­fi­cial­ly ‑restrict­ed to the Unit­ed States dur­ing World War II, severe­ly dam­ag­ing its war effort and how U.S. Intel­li­gence came to sus­pect trea­son. How a major dia­mond deposit in Arkansas was sab­o­taged to stop it com­ing into pro­duc­tion. How the White House was manip­u­lat­ed into buy­ing mil­lions of dia­monds it did not need and now must sell. How ter­ror­ism found its way into the dia­mond trade, not recent­ly but many decades ago. How dia­monds are secret­ly moved by the mil­lions around the world. ”

    NOTE: The “CIA-linked dia­mond mer­chant” was long­time Jack­ie O com­pan­ion Mau­rice Tem­pels­man. Tem­pels­man­’s CIA busi­ness agent was Richard Devlin, who was involved in the machi­na­tions to put Mobu­tu in charge of Con­go AND was CIA sta­tion chief in Laos dur­ing the Viet­nam War.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurice_Tempelsman

    The Oppen­heimer’s part­ner in Tana Africa is Temasek, the state sov­er­eign wealth fund of Sin­ga­pore.

    https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/2126198/oil-bribes-politicians-what-happened-clean-singapore

    “The US$55 mil­lion topped the near­ly US$19 mil­lion in bribes that were involved at a scan­dal at state-linked ship­builder Sin­ga­pore Tech­nolo­gies Marine, mak­ing it the biggest cor­rup­tion case to hit one of the so-called Sin­ga­pore Inc com­pa­nies linked to state sov­er­eign wealth firm Temasek Hold­ings.

    Temasek is huge in Asia and is cur­rent­ly build­ing an entire “smart city” with Mit­subishi in Indone­sia.”

    https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Technology/In-Jakarta-suburb-Mitsubishi-and-Temasek-unit-plan-smart-city

    Posted by CinqueAnon | December 24, 2020, 6:01 pm

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