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Katalin Kariko    

Hungarian Biochemist

Katalin Karikó is a Hungarian biochemist who specializes in RNA-mediated mechanisms. Her research has been the development of in vitro-transcribed mRNA for protein therapies. She co-founded and was CEO of RNARx, from 2006 to 2013. Since 2013, she has been associated with BioNTech RNA Pharmaceuticals, first as a vice president and promoted to senior vice president in 2019. She also is an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

Karikó's work includes the scientific research of RNA-mediated immune activation, resulting in the co-discovery with American immunologist Drew Weissman of the nucleoside modifications that suppress the immunogenicity of RNA. This is seen as further contribution to the therapeutic use of mRNA. Together with Weissman, she holds U.S. patents for the application of non-immunogenic, nucleoside-modified RNA. This technology has been licensed by BioNTech and Moderna to develop their protein replacement technologies but was also used for their COVID-19 vaccines. She and Weissman have received many awards including the prestigious Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award.

Kariko is on the Time 100 Most Influential People of 2021 list.

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