We’ve assembled a team of scientists, drug hunters, executives, and visionaries. Our experience is matched only by our passion.
Our team includes industry leaders and seasoned executives all drawn to the common purpose of realizing our mission to deliver on the promise of messenger RNA (mRNA) science to bring new medicines to patients. In addition to extensive experience in the biopharma industry, we share a commitment to the possibilities that mRNA science brings to medicine and a desire to rapidly and effectively advance the science to benefit patients.
- Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer
- Marcello Damiani, Chief Digital Officer
- Stephen W. Harbin, Senior Vice President, Manufacturing and Operations
- Stephen Hoge, M.D., President
- Saqib Islam, Chief Business Officer
- James R. Kasinger, General Counsel
- Lorence Kim, M.D., Chief Financial Officer
- Tal Zaks, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer and President, Caperna
Platform R&D Leadership
- Örn Almarsson, Ph.D., Head of Formulation
- Jeff Hrkach, Ph.D., Head of Delivery Innovation
- Melissa Moore, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, mRNA Research Platform
- Hari Pujar, Ph.D., Head of Technical Development
- Pete Smith, Ph.D., Head of R&D Non-Clinical
- Matthew Stanton, Ph.D., Head of Chemistry
Mr. Stéphane Bancel joined Moderna in the summer of 2011 when it was a one employee company. He has assembled a world-class team and raised more than $1Billion between equity financing and upfront from licensing collaborations.
He was previously CEO of bioMérieux, a world leader in the diagnostics industry. bioMerieux has more than 6,000 employees, a market capitalization of €2.5 billion, and sales of more than €1.3 billion.
Prior to his time at bioMérieux, Mr. Bancel was the managing director of Eli Lilly Belgium and executive director of global manufacturing strategy and supply chain at Eli Lilly in Indianapolis, Indiana. He started at Lilly in their UK manufacturing plant outside London.
He holds a Master of Engineering from École Central Paris, a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Mr. Bancel was elected a 2009 Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. He was elected best CEO for investor relations in France in 2009 and was ranked the number one CEO in the biotech sector according to the 2011 Thomson Reuters EXTEL Study. Mr. Bancel serves as a supervisory director of Qiagen N.V., and on the Board of Directors of Syros Pharmaceuticals.
As Chief Digital Officer, Mr. Marcello Damiani brings a wealth of experience from both Tech companies and Life Science companies and a true passion for making Digital a reality. He has 20 years experience working in the IT field, with the last 10 years being spent in leadership roles for multinational companies in Europe and in the U.S.
Prior to joining Moderna, Mr. Damiani has been instrumental in conceiving and building creative IT solutions to help solve business challenges, first at Motorola and then at bioMerieux. His expertise is in visioning, strategizing and implementing innovative programs to update and streamline the digital landscapes. He is known for his ability to transform a company’s Information flow, and ultimately improving the product and the company’s processes through digitization.
Mr. Damiani possesses a Master of Science degree in Information Systems Architecture from the University of Toulouse in France, and he has just finished an international Executive MBA program through TRIUM, an alliance of three of the world’s top universities: the London School of Economics, New York University Stern Business School and the HEC School of Management in Paris.
Mr. Stephen Harbin brings more than 30 years of diverse operational experience in pharmaceuticals and in-vitro diagnostics to his position at Moderna, having served in a variety of senior business and operational leadership roles both in Europe and the U.S. Prior to joining Moderna, he was the corporate vice president of Global Operations at bioMérieux, where he was responsible for more than 3,000 global employees over multiple global functions and manufacturing sites.
In his career Mr. Harbin has held senior leadership positions driving strategic direction and performance in such areas as, manufacturing, information systems, quality, regulatory affairs, and compliance. He has continually refined and reengineered internal processes driving transformation in response to new business challenges.
Mr. Harbin has held leadership roles with Eli Lilly and Company, Shionogi Qualicaps (Spain), Elanco Qualicaps (U.K.), and Elanco Animal Health where his work covered many different dimensions from sales and marketing to HR and people development in highly regulated environments, resulting in receiving ‘best practice’ recognition from the FDA.
He graduated in 1979 from Durham College of Agriculture in the UK.
As President of Moderna, Dr. Stephen Hoge leads all research and development in mRNA technology, including chemistry, biology, formulation, and technical development. In addition Stephen is responsible for New Venture Labs, Moderna’s internal venture incubator and has played a founding role in all of Moderna’s therapeutic area ventures. Having joined Moderna at a very early stage, Dr. Hoge has played a wide range of other roles at the company, including leading corporate development & strategy, mRNA science, and preclinical oncology.
Prior to Moderna, Dr. Hoge was a partner at McKinsey & Company and a leader in the firm’s healthcare practice. At McKinsey, Dr. Hoge advised senior management teams of leading biotech and pharmaceutical companies on a wide range of strategic and operational topics. Prior to joining McKinsey, Dr. Hoge was a physician in New York. He holds an M.D. with thesis from the University of California, San Francisco and a B.S. in neuroscience from Amherst College.
Currently, Dr. Hoge also serves on the board of directors of Axcella, Inc., a clinical stage biotechnology company.
As Chief Business Officer, Mr. Saqib Islam oversees critical aspects of Moderna’s growth, including global strategic planning, corporate development and business development.
Mr. Islam joined Moderna from Alexion Pharmaceuticals, where he served as Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy and Portfolio Officer, executing the company’s corporate growth strategies and contributing to its assessment and management of global operations. Prior to joining Alexion, Mr. Islam worked for more than 20 years in international business management with a focus on business development, strategic decision-making and planning and capital markets. He has an extensive background in the healthcare banking sector, having held positions of increasing responsibility in the investment banking divisions of Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and most recently, Credit Suisse Securities. Earlier in his career, Mr. Islam provided strategic analysis and advice to client firms across diverse industry segments for The Boston Consulting Group.
Mr. Islam received a bachelor’s degree from McGill University, graduating as a University Scholar, and a J.D. from Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar.
Mr. Jim Kasinger leads all legal, corporate governance, and intellectual property matters at Moderna.
A highly accomplished attorney with more than 16 years of experience, Mr. Kasinger brings to Moderna an extensive background in corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, securities, and licensing law. Before joining Moderna, Mr. Kasinger was the general counsel at PlumChoice, Inc., a provider of technical support services to Fortune 1000 companies. Prior to PlumChoice, Mr. Kasinger was a partner at the global law firm, Goodwin Procter LLP, where he represented life sciences, technology and other high-growth companies in all stages of their life cycles, from formation, to obtaining seed and growth financings, to initial public offering, merger or sale. Mr. Kasinger started his legal career at Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault.
Mr. Kasinger holds a JD from Boston College Law School, graduating cum laude, and a B.A. from Wheaton College, graduating magna cum laude.
Dr. Lorence Kim joins Moderna from Goldman Sachs where he was a managing director and co-head of the U.S. biotechnology investment banking effort. He joined Goldman Sachs in 1999 as a summer associate and was named managing director in 2008. As a member of the healthcare investment banking group for nearly 14 years, Dr. Kim's responsibilities included corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, with several billion in equity and equity-linked financings, and more than $55 billion in M&A transactions. Dr. Kim is currently a member of the board of directors of Seres Therapeutics.
Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Dr. Kim worked in various medical research and consulting positions concurrent with his graduate studies. Dr. Kim graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with an A.B. in biochemical sciences in 1995. He also earned an MBA in healthcare management as a Palmer Scholar from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 2000 and an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine in 2000.
As chief medical officer, Dr. Tal Zaks oversees preclinical development, clinical development and regulatory affairs across Moderna and its ventures. Prior to joining Moderna, Dr. Zaks was senior vice president and head of Global Oncology at Sanofi, where he was responsible for all aspects of oncology drug discovery, development and commercialization.
Dr. Zaks began his industry career at GlaxoSmithKline in the genetics research group, where he built the oncology translational medicine team and led translational research on lapatinib as well as the in-licensing and clinical development of foretinib. In addition to his industry work, Dr. Zaks is associate professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and has served as a volunteer physician at the Philadelphia Veterans Administration Medical Center, treating patients with genitourinary cancers.
Dr. Zaks received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the Ben Gurion University in Israel and conducted post-doctoral research at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. He completed his clinical training in internal medicine at Temple University Hospital followed by a fellowship in medical oncology at the University of Pennsylvania.
Platform R&D Leadership
Dr. Örn Almarsson brings to his role as Head of Formulation at Moderna more than 20 years of experience in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. Over the course of his career, he has worked on translation of drug candidates from discovery into development through studies of pharmaceutical materials science and drug delivery applications. Prior to joining Moderna, Dr. Almarsson held positions of increasing responsibility in pharmaceutical R&D at Merck, TransForm Pharmaceuticals/J&J PRD and Alkermes.
Dr. Almarsson received his B.Sc. in chemistry from the University of Iceland and Ph.D. in bio-organic chemistry from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Prior to joining industry, he held a post-doctoral position in biotechnology with Prof. Alexander Klibanov at MIT.
Dr. Jeff Hrkach joined Moderna in 2016 as Head of Delivery Innovation to build a team and lead new directions for the Moderna mRNA delivery platform. Prior to joining Moderna, he was Chief Technology Officer at BIND Therapeutics leading Research and Development for the BIND targeted nanomedicine pipeline and partnerships with AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Amgen. Prior to BIND, Dr. Hrkach was Senior Director of Drug Delivery and Strategic Product Development at Momenta Pharmaceuticals, where he was the initial Program Leader and Alliance Manager for the development of Glatopa® in partnership with Sandoz. Before joining Momenta, Dr. Hrkach was Director of Pulmonary Formulations at Alkermes and AIR (Advanced Inhalation Research, acquired by Alkermes in 1999) focusing on the AIR large porous particle inhalation technology development programs.
Dr. Hrkach was the first employee at AIR in 1998 following his postdoctoral studies with Professor Robert Langer at MIT. He has over 50 publications and patents focused on nanomedicine, pulmonary drug delivery and novel polymeric biomaterials. Dr. Hrkach received his Ph.D. in Chemistry and M.S. in Polymer Science from Carnegie Mellon University and his B.S. in Chemistry from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science.
In her role as Chief Scientific Officer of Moderna’s mRNA research platform, Dr. Melissa Moore is responsible for leading all mRNA biology research at Moderna. She joined Moderna from the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS), where she served as Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Eleanor Eustis Farrington Chair in Cancer Research and Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). Dr. Moore was also a founding Co-Director of the RNA Therapeutics Institute (RTI) at UMMS, and was instrumental in the creation of the Massachusetts Therapeutic and Entrepreneurship Realization initiative (MassTERi), a faculty-led program intended to facilitate the translation of UMMS discoveries into drugs, products, technologies and companies.
Dr. Moore’s research at UMMS and HHMI encompassed a broad array of topics related to the role of RNA and RNA-protein (RNP) complexes in gene expression and touched on many human diseases including cancer, neurodegeneration and preeclampsia. Prior to UMMS, she spent 13 years as a professor at Brandeis University. She began working on RNA during her postdoctoral training with Phillip Sharp, Ph.D., Institute Professor, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, where she also received her Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry. Dr. Moore holds a B.S. in Chemistry and Biology from the College of William and Mary.
Upon joining Moderna, Dr. Moore has retained her academic affiliation with UMMS as a part-time faculty member.
Dr. Hari Pujar is the Head of Technical Development at Moderna. Previously, he was a Global Product Leader for pediatric and adult vaccine franchises at Merck & Co., Inc., with responsibility covering R&D, manufacturing, and commercial strategy. Earlier, also at Merck, Dr. Pujar managed bioprocess development, external bioprocess R&D, and external cGMP manufacturing of vaccines, novel biologics, and biosimilars, where he contributed to product development from late discovery through commercialization, including global regulatory filings for a number of vaccine and biologics candidates.
He has been active in leadership roles with the American Chemical Society, including serving as the Chair of the Biotechnology Division. He served as a steering committee member of the EPSRC Innovative Manufacturing Research Center for Bioprocessing and Center for Innovative Manufacturing in Emergent Macromolecular Therapies, both at University College London. Dr. Pujar has been invited lecturer at University College London, University of Delaware, Johns Hopkins University, Villanova University, Indian Institute of Technology, and Indian Institute of Science. He has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications and is a co-editor of a book on Vaccine Development and Manufacturing. He has won the James van Lanen Award of the American Chemical Society.
Dr. Pujar holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware and an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurial Management from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Pete Smith brings to his role as Head of R&D Non-Clinical at Moderna more than 30 years of pharma industry experience. He joined Moderna from Millennium Pharmaceuticals, where he most recently served as co-head of R&D and a member of the company’s management team. In this role, he was responsible for management of all Non-Clinical groups and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Dr. Smith’s extensive experience in drug discovery and development spans multiple therapeutic areas (CV, oncology, inflammation and infectious disease, among others) and therapeutic modalities (small molecules, antibodies, ADCs, nucleic acids [modified mRNA]). Over the course of his career, he has had oversight of the non-clinical development of multiple, currently marketed therapeutics including CELEBREX®, INSPRA®, VELCADE® and ENTYVIO®, and also deep involvement in the development of numerous other products.
Dr. Smith has gained global development and management experience across multiple organizations spanning diverse geographic areas including the US, EU and Asia. Through his work, he has amassed significant experience interacting with global regulatory agencies and alliance partners.
Dr. Smith has a B.S. in biology from Fairfield University and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology from the University of Arizona. His postdoctoral fellowship in biochemical toxicology was undertaken at SmithKline. He has published and presented extensively in the pharm/tox area as well as in the area of drug development.
As Head of Chemistry at Moderna, Dr. Matthew Stanton leads nucleotide and delivery chemistry in support of mRNA therapeutics discovery.
Prior to joining Moderna, Dr. Stanton was Director and head of RNA medicinal chemistry at Merck, spending 16 years in roles of increasing leadership, including small molecule program leadership and head of chemistry capabilities enhancement. He was involved in numerous therapeutic areas including oncology, cardiovascular, neuroscience and infectious disease that spanned a range of modalities including small molecules, siRNA and peptide conjugates.
Dr. Stanton graduated from Virginia Tech with a B.S. in chemistry and earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a focus on physical organic chemistry and natural product synthesis.
Dr. Stephen Kelsey has extensive pharmaceutical industry experience in oncology. After 16 years as an academic clinician, he started his industry career at Sugen, and later was vice president of hematology/oncology at Genentech. While at Genentech, Dr. Kelsey played a significant role in the development of key products Perjeta®, Kadcyla® and Erivedge®, as well as other molecules in the company’s oncology portfolio. He left Genentech in 2009 to run Geron’s oncology division, where he served for four years as executive vice president, research and development, and chief medical officer helping to develop therapeutics and vaccines to fight cancer.
Most recently Dr. Kelsey was senior vice president, new projects at the cancer therapies company Medivation. Dr. Kelsey graduated with a Doctorate of Medicine (M.D.) from the University of Birmingham, UK and is a fellow of both the Royal Colleges of Physicians and Pathologists, UK.
Dr. Michael Watson is a UK trained physician in internal medicine and infectious disease, bringing a twenty-year career in vaccine work to his new role with Moderna. Previously, Dr. Watson was Global Head of Vaccination Policy and Advocacy at Sanofi Pasteur. He has also held positions including Head of R&D for Acambis, UK Medical Director of Aventis Pasteur MSD as well as Head of Clinical and Epidemiology for SPMSD in France.
His broad experience developing and licensing vaccines for conditions from smallpox, to encephalitis, to influenza and more has involved collaboration with key organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, GAVI (The Vaccine Alliance) and other government and non-governmental organizations. He has served as Chair of the Vaccines Committee and the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Group of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, (IFPMA) and is a member of the Board of Vaccines Europe and a board member of The Foundation for Innovative New Vaccines, FIND.