Executive Committee

R&D Leadership


Executive Committee

Stéphane Bancel
Chief Executive Officer



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 nearly $2 billion between equity financing and upfront from licensing collaborations.

He was previously CEO of bioMérieux, a world leader in the diagnostics industry. bioMérieux 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 named Ernst & Young 2017 New England Entrepreneur of the Year. He was ranked the number one CEO in the biotech sector according to the 2011 Thomson Reuters EXTEL Study. In 2009, he was elected a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, and elected best CEO for investor relations in France.

Mr. Bancel serves as a supervisory director of Qiagen N.V. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Museum of Science, Boston.


Stephen Hoge, M.D.
President



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.


Marcello Damiani
Chief Digital Officer



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 bioMérieux. 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.


Annie Seibold Drapeau
Chief Human Resources Officer



Ms. Annie Seibold Drapeau serves as Chief Human Resources Officer at Moderna, leading the company’s talent and organizational strategy. Prior to joining Moderna, Ms. Drapeau served as an Operating Partner at Bain Capital Private Equity, where she partnered with companies across the private equity portfolio on a range of talent and organizational capability initiatives.

Previously, Ms. Drapeau served as Executive Vice President, Strategy and Talent at Iron Mountain, a $3 billion data storage and protection business with nearly 20,000 employees worldwide. She had responsibility for corporate strategy, human resources and the company’s portfolio of emerging business opportunities. She also led the company’s diversity and sustainability efforts. Before joining Iron Mountain, Ms. Drapeau held leadership roles in human resources, strategy and finance at the Center for Leading Organizations, VistaPrint, Digitas, PepsiCo and JPMorgan.

Ms. Drapeau has been published in the Harvard Business Review on the topic of trust and leadership, and also led a session on that topic at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos. Ms. Drapeau holds a bachelor’s in chemical engineering from Bucknell University and an MBA from the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth College.

She chairs the Boston Advisory Board of Directors for the Posse Foundation, sits on the Alumni Association Board of Directors at Bucknell University and is a Trustee of the Nashoba Brooks School. 


Stephen W. Harbin
Senior Vice President, Manufacturing and Operations



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.


Saqib Islam
Chief Business Officer



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.


Lorence Kim, M.D.
Chief Financial Officer



Dr. Lorence Kim joined 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.


Tal Zaks, M.D., Ph.D.
Chief Medical Officer and President, Caperna



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.

Dr. Zaks serves on the Board of Directors of Adaptimmune Therapeutics plc.


R&D Leadership

Örn Almarsson, Ph.D.
Head of Formulation



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.


Ted. T. Ashburn, M.D., Ph.D.
Head of Operations, Caperna



As head of operations for Caperna, Ted Ashburn, M.D., Ph.D., is responsible for overall design, integration and execution of its Personalized Cancer Vaccine (PCV) programs. Previously he was SVP of Product Strategy and Operations at Dicerna Pharmaceuticals and also the Global Product Head for Leukine® (sargramostim) and Elitek®/Fasturtec® (rasburicase) for Sanofi Oncology. In this latter role, Dr. Ashburn provided global leadership for R&D, global marketing and regional commercial teams to identify, develop, prioritize and execute on new commercialization and life-cycle management strategies to drive growth.

Dr. Ashburn joined Sanofi Oncology from Genzyme’s Corporate Development group where he led business development efforts for many of Genzyme’s franchises including transplant and rare diseases. Prior to joining Genzyme, Dr. Ashburn worked for privately-held Dynogen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and the venture capital firm Oxford Bioscience Partners. While at Oxford he co-founded both Dynogen and BrainCells, Inc. and led investments in Alantos Pharmaceuticals (acquired in June, 2007 by Amgen for $300 million in cash) and superDimension, Ltd. (acquired by Covidien in March, 2012 for more than $300 million). Before joining Oxford, Dr. Ashburn worked at Pfizer Inc. where he was involved in the analysis of several acquisition and new business opportunities including Pfizer’s acquisition of Warner-Lambert in 2001.

Dr. Ashburn graduated magna cum laude from Ball State University where he studied chemistry and computer science. He earned his M.D. from Harvard Medical School and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he focused on elucidating the structure and properties of amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease and type II diabetes mellitus.


Giuseppe Ciaramella, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer, Valera



Giuseppe Ciaramella, Ph.D., is the Chief Scientific Officer of Valera, a wholly owned Moderna venture focused on the discovery of vaccines and therapeutics for infectious diseases. He joined Moderna in January 2014 as VP of Immunology and Biotherapeutics and was appointed CSO of the newly formed Valera in October 2014.

Dr. Ciaramella has more than 20 years of drug discovery experience at Moderna, Astrazeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim (BI), Pfizer and Merck, and has held several leadership roles, with a particular focus in the fields of antivirals, immunology and biotherapeutics. Prior to joining Moderna, he led the small molecule Antiviral Strategy at AZ. At BI, he was VP and Head of Collaborative Research where he had responsibility for external R&D and was a member of the WW Research Leadership Team. Prior to BI, Dr. Ciaramella spent 14 years at Pfizer in the UK where he held several Discovery leadership positions, including Head of Biotherapeutics, Head of Antiviral and Head of Lead Discovery. During his career, he has contributed to several clinical candidates, both small molecule and biologics, and to the anti-HIV drug Maraviroc (SelzentryTM), which won the USA Prix Galien for Best Pharmaceutical in 2008.

Dr. Ciaramella holds a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from University College London. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK) and he is a member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA).


Josh Frederick, Ph.D.
Head of Onkaido Research



Josh Frederick, Ph.D., is the Head of Onkaido Research, promoted from his prior role as Immuno-Oncology Research Head. Dr. Frederick is responsible for generating development candidates that harness the power of the immune system to combat cancer, and he manages activity ranging from target discovery/validation through in vivo preclinical studies and translational science. He is the research lead on Onkaido’s development teams, and serves as a Moderna representative on the Joint Scientific and Discovery Advisory Committees within the Moderna-AstraZeneca collaborations.

Prior to his positions at Onkaido, Dr. Frederick was the Head of Oncology Research at Moderna Therapeutics, responsible for building the foundation that demonstrated the utility of the Moderna platform for the treatment of cancer, and advanced programs focused on pro-apoptotic pathways, targeting “undruggable” oncogenic nodes and immune-mediated therapies of cancer. 

Before he joined Moderna in 2013, Dr. Frederick was a Translational Research group leader at Aveo Oncology, focused on the generation of biomarkers for therapeutic response prediction, as well as avenues to modulate the tumor microenvironment for therapeutic benefit.

Dr. Frederick earned his Ph.D. from the Pharmacology and Cancer Biology Department at Duke University, where he also completed his post-doctoral training.


Eric Huang, Ph.D.
Head of New Venture Labs



Eric Huang, Ph.D., joined Moderna Therapeutics in May 2012 as Senior Director of Business Development and Strategy and now serves as Head of New Venture Labs, Moderna’s internal incubator for ongoing exploration of new applications for its mRNA platform technology. In his current role, Dr. Huang is responsible for leading a diverse portfolio of drug discovery efforts and therapeutic modality development. Ideas generated and pursued by Dr. Huang and the New Venture Labs team have led to the formation of Moderna’s ventures. In addition, pioneering work conducted by Dr. Huang and his team led to Moderna’s collaboration with Vertex Pharmaceuticals to pursue mRNA therapies for cystic fibrosis.

Prior to joining Moderna, Dr. Huang held business and corporate development positions at several venture-backed startups, including Seaside Therapeutics, Stromedix, and Domantis. He was a key contributor to all aspects of company building, including both in- and out-licensing, portfolio strategy, product development opportunities, commercial assessment, and fundraising activities.

Dr. Huang was a post-doctoral fellow at Columbia University and holds a Ph.D. from the Sackler Institute at NYU School of Medicine, an MBA from Boston University, and a B.S. from Emory University.


Jeff Hrkach, Ph.D.
Head of Delivery Innovation



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.


John Joyal, Ph.D.
Head of In Vitro Biology



John Joyal, Ph.D., Head of In Vitro Biology, joined Moderna in 2013, and is responsible for the assessment of mRNA containing chemical and structural modifications in various cell systems. Dr. Joyal has over 20 years of drug discovery experience with expertise in cell and molecular biology, particularly in the areas of receptor biology, cell signaling pathways, and assay development. 

Prior to joining Moderna, Dr. Joyal served as Vice President of Discovery Research at Molecular Insight Pharmaceuticals, where he focused on the development of targeted radiopharmaceuticals for oncology. Previously, Dr. Joyal served as Director of Discovery Research at Phylogix Pharmaceuticals, where he led a team evaluating the biology and mechanism of action of protein therapeutics for oncology supportive care. He also held several positions of increasing leadership at Praecis Pharmaceuticals, including Director of Cell Biology, where he initiated or contributed to the establishment of numerous research projects focusing on the discovery of novel therapeutics for the treatment of cancer, inflammation, infectious disease, and neurological disorders.

Dr. Joyal did his post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical School/Brigham and Women's Hospital, examining novel interactions between the calcium sensor, calmodulin, and proteins involved in breast carcinogenesis and growth factor signaling. He received his Doctorate in biology from Tufts University, studying mitochondrial physiology.


Paolo G.V. Martini, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer and Head of Discovery, Elpidera



Paolo Martini, Ph.D., is the Chief Scientific Officer and Head of Discovery at Elpidera, Moderna’s wholly owned venture focused on advancing mRNA therapeutics for rare diseases. With more than 18 years of experience in drug discovery working on molecular mechanisms underlying monogenic and multigenic metabolic and fibrotic disorders as well as hematologic malignancies, Dr. Martini’s laboratory is focused on identifying novel therapies and applying translational approaches for drug development in rare genetic disorders. 

Previously Dr. Martini worked at Shire plc in Lexington, Mass., as Senior Director of Discovery Biology and Translational Research, Mass., focusing on fibrotic diseases of muscle, kidney, skin, lung, bone marrow and metabolic liver diseases, with particular emphasis on different therapeutic modalities for pathway modulation. In his role at Shire, he supported phase 1 and 2 clinical studies for lysosomal storage and chronic kidney diseases. Prior to Shire, Dr. Martini worked at EMD-Serono for five years in Discovery Research.

After graduating from the University of Milan, Italy, he moved to Germany for a post-doctoral work at Schering AG (now Bayer) in Berlin, Germany, and then to the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign. Dr. Martini has been collaborating with organizations supporting research and clinical development of rare metabolic disorders and fibrotic diseases, and he is a former Scientific Advisory Board member of the Keystone Symposia. 


Melissa Moore, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer, mRNA Research Platform



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.


Arian Pano, M.D., MPH
Head, Clinical Development, Elpidera



Arian Pano, M.D., MPH, serves as Head, Clinical Development of Epidera, Moderna’s wholly owned venture focused on advancing mRNA Therapeutics™ for rare diseases. Prior to joining Moderna, Dr. Pano led the Phase 1/2 clinical development for siRNA trials in Primary Hyperoxaluria at Dicerna Pharmaceuticals. Previously, Dr. Pano focused on research and development of therapies for rare diseases at Pfizer and Shire. At these companies, Dr. Pano worked on both early and late stage global clinical programs in Transthyretin (TTR) Amyloidosis, Lysosomal Storage Disorders and complement biology. This included, among others, EU approval of Vyndaqel® (tafamidis) for TTR-FAP (Familial Amyloid Polyneuropathy); supplemental biologics license application (BLA) and pediatric label expansion for ELAPRASE® (idursulfase), full regulatory approval and pediatric label expansion for REPLAGAL® (agalsidase alfa) in the EU and new drug submission (NDS) in Canada.

Dr. Pano began his industry career at Acusphere Inc as Medical Director in charge of the clinical trials in cardiovascular imaging, and early translation medicine in oncology and pain. In addition to his industry work, Dr. Pano formerly served as associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Tirana (Tirana, Albania) medical school, and as a volunteer physician during the Balkan wars (1997-2002) working with International Medical Corps, the International Rescue Committee, and other emergency relief organizations.

Dr. Pano received his M.D. and MPH in Clinical Research from the University of Tirana and a second MPH in Healthcare Management from Harvard School of Public Health. He completed his clinical training in pediatrics at University Hospital Tirana, followed by a fellowship in pediatric cardiology and invasive cardiology.


Hari Pujar, Ph.D.
Head of Technical Development



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.


Joseph Senn, Ph.D., DABT
Head of Nonclinical Development



Dr. Joe Senn oversees all nonclinical development activities for Moderna. He previously served as senior director of toxicology and pathology for Moderna. Prior to joining the company, Dr. Senn was director and site head for Drug Safety Evaluation and therapeutic area lead for immunology at Takeda Pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Senn is a board certified toxicologist who received his PhD in Pharmacology and Physiology from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. He has held joint faculty positions at the Medical University of South Carolina as assistant professor of pediatrics and pharmacology prior to entering industry. In industry, his focus has been on immunotoxicology, investigative, discovery and development toxicology. Over his time in industry he has supported the development of programs in a wide range of therapeutic areas including immune modulators, oncology, neurology, inflammatory and infectious diseases. He has led multiple regulatory filings for modalities ranging from small molecules, biologics and antibody drug conjugates and most recently modified messenger RNA.


Igor Smolenov, M.D., Ph.D.
Head of Clinical and Medical, Valera



Igor Smolenov, M.D., Ph.D., is Head of Clinical and Medical at Valera, Moderna’s infectious disease-focused venture. In his role, Dr. Smolenov leverages his extensive experience in vaccine clinical research and development to support Valera’s vaccine development activities from first-in-human studies through registration.

Before joining Moderna in 2016, Dr. Smolenov served as a senior medical officer at PATH and provided medical and scientific guidance for development of innovative vaccines (pneumococcal, meningococcal, GBS and RSV) to ensure that clinical research programs were planned and implemented to meet organization objectives. Prior to that, he served as Head of Development Cluster for combined meningococcal vaccines at Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, during which time regulatory approval was received for Menveo (meningococcal A, C, W, Y vaccine) in children, and substantial progress was reached with other combined vaccines. Dr. Smolenov previously also worked at GSK Biologicals, where he led and managed the clinical development programs for rotavirus vaccine in infants and adjuvanted seasonal influenza vaccine in children. He was involved in clinical development programs to support registration of the company’s vaccine against rotavirus in the US, Latin American countries, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, India, Russia, and China.

Dr. Smolenov received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the Volgograd State Medical University in Russia. He completed his clinical training in pediatric infectious diseases, followed by a fellowship in allergy and immunology, at the same university. Dr. Smolenov served as a faculty member and associate professor of Volgograd State Medical University before starting his career in industry. He is the recipient of several awards and author of several publications in the area of vaccine development.


Matthew Stanton, Ph.D.
Head of Chemistry



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.


Barry Ticho, M.D., Ph.D., FACC
Head of Development, CVMD



As Head of Development for CVMD, Barry Ticho, M.D., Ph.D., FACC, leads Moderna’s efforts to deliver messenger RNA (mRNA) Therapeutics™ to treat serious cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. He is responsible for driving internal and partnered development programs to benefit patients as quickly as possible. Previously Dr. Ticho was Head of External R&D Innovation for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases at Pfizer and prior to that he was Vice President of Clinical Development at Biogen. Dr. Ticho also held a position in Clinical Pharmacology at Merck & Co. He obtained his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago and completed Pediatrics training at Northwestern University and a Cardiology fellowship at Children’s Hospital in Boston. Dr. Ticho was on clinical staff at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital and conducted laboratory research on the regulation of cardiac development.


Michael Watson, MB ChB, MRCP, AFPM 
President, Valera



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.