During his visit to Marburg, Chancellor Olaf Scholz had one appointment after the next. During a tour of the Biontech plant, he supported the pharmaceutical industry during a public dialogue with his interior minister, Nancy Faeser.
Marburg (dpa / lhe) - It was a lavish program that Chancellor Olaf Scholz completed on Thursday in Marburg in central Hesse. After the SPD politician had announced during a visit to the Biontech plant there that he wanted to further strengthen Germany as a research location, he supported his Federal Minister of the Interior, Nancy Faeser, in the so-called Chancellor Talks. "I can say about Nancy Faeser, who I know is a very, very conscientious woman: she will do everything she has to do every day," said Scholz.
A few hours earlier, Faeser had announced her top candidacy for the SPD in the Hessian state elections in October and declared that she wanted to keep her ministerial post for the time being. She explained that in a democracy it is a matter of course that candidates also run for elections from offices. As an example, she cited the former CDU Federal Minister of the Interior, Manfred Kanther, who ran in 1995 as the top candidate in Hesse in the state elections. Kanther lost and then remained Minister of the Interior.
Scholz also pointed out that it is not unusual for incumbents to campaign as top candidates. "I assume that nobody has done their job well during this time," he said in front of 150 citizens, who were able to ask him their questions for 90 minutes.
The Chancellor had previously attended a meeting of the children and youth parliament of the city of Marburg and got an idea of the new and first in-house plasmid DNA production facility of the Mainz-based vaccine manufacturer Biontech at the Marburg site. According to Biontech, plasmids are small, circular DNA molecules and are a key starting material for the production of mRNA-based vaccines and therapies. In the past, the pharmaceutical company had to buy plasmid DNA externally.
With the new production facility, which will cost around 40 million euros, Biontech will be able to produce plasmid DNA independently and thus become more flexible and autonomous in the production of starting materials for its oncology and Covid-19 vaccines, explained Biontech co-founder and medical director Özlem Türeci.
Scholz announced that he intends to further strengthen Germany as a research location. "We need to enable faster approval processes for factories, for new medicines, for research projects and also for the use of research data," he said. "We now want to contribute in a very short time with many very specific legislative proposals to ensure that the medical industry and healthcare economy make progress." The "new Germany pace" that the federal government presented for the construction of pipelines and LNG terminals should also apply when it comes to Germany as a research and science location.
Biontech announced in January that it wanted to take over a British start-up specializing in artificial intelligence. Just a few days earlier, it had become known that the Mainz-based company wanted to set up a research and development center for cancer therapy in Cambridge. The aim is to treat up to 10,000 patients with personalized cancer immunotherapies by 2030 - either as part of clinical studies or as approved treatments.