In 2005, Penn biochemist Katalin Karikó and immunologist Drew Weissman published a paper detailing research focused on messenger RNA (ribonucleic acid). Years later, this mRNA technology was implemented by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech to create covid-19 vaccines, which have since saved an estimated 2 million lives in the United States.
Thanks to patents on Karikó and Weissman’s research, Penn is now collecting covid-19 vaccine royalties, which are being re-invested into Penn’s research portfolio to support further discovery of life-saving therapies and technologies. Some of Penn’s initial plans for the royalties are to fund additional scientific and medical research and expand laboratory space and research resources.
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