To write a history of German knowledge and technology transfer (KTT) is an exercise in humility. After all, we always seem to be running behind the United States, which started with the Bayh-Dole Act in 1989, the United Kingdom, and to be frank also behind Switzerland, France, and a few Scandinavian and other countries that are more entrepreneurial in their approaches to support development of inventions from academia into the market. Wherever German KTT slots in, it is not in the top tier. At the northern end we have recently seen an absolute highlight and success of possibly historic dimension. BioNTech, an mRNA start-up out of the University of Freiburg, which went on to develop a world-saving COVID-19 vaccine, showed the world that Germany can put ideas from academia into practice for the benefit of society and for the world at large. And it also shows that KTT is a global team exercise. BioNTech needed the agility, flexibility and vision of a big Pharma partner, Pfizer, for a COVID-19 vaccine to emerge. It also needed the commitment and patience of a family office. BioNTech would have not risen to its current format if they had not received substantial public funding to start with, and if they had not been financed by family offices (instead of the more common venture capital), thus escaping the usual time cycles of venture capital funds. After all, BioNTech was founded in 2008, 12 years before they had their first product on the market, and they started with an entirely different idea, with a vision to develop mRNA vaccines against cancer.