Moderna Appoints Melissa J. Moore, Ph.D., as Chief Scientific Officer of Moderna’s mRNA Research Platform
Renowned UMass Medical School Professor and Founding Co-Director of the RNA Therapeutics Institute (RTI) to Lead Moderna’s mRNA Biology Research
Dr. Moore to Oversee Moderna’s Efforts to Further Advance Its Leading mRNA Platform to Promote Continued Pipeline Expansion and Deliver a New Class of Medicines for Patients
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., September 13, 2016 — Moderna Therapeutics, a clinical stage biotechnology company pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) Therapeutics™ to create a new generation of transformative medicines for patients, today announced that Melissa J. Moore, Ph.D., has been appointed Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of Moderna’s mRNA research platform. Responsible for leading all mRNA biology research at Moderna, Dr. Moore will play a critical leadership role as the company enters a new growth phase, and will help guide Moderna towards its vision of delivering on the promise of mRNA science for patients. Dr. Moore will assume her new role at Moderna as of October 3, 2016.
Currently a member of Moderna’s Scientific Advisory Board, Dr. Moore joins the company from the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS), where she is currently Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Eleanor Eustis Farrington Chair in Cancer Research and Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). In addition, Dr. Moore was a founding Co-Director of the RNA Therapeutics Institute (RTI) at UMMS. The RTI's mission is to accelerate the translation of basic research discoveries into medicines. She was also 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. Upon joining Moderna, Dr. Moore will resign from HHMI, but retain her academic affiliation with UMMS as a part-time faculty member.
"We are excited and honored to have Melissa join our team,” said Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna. “As we enter a new growth phase for Moderna, we continue to challenge ourselves to deliver on the broadest possible array of mRNA medicines. Messenger RNA biology is, of course, a foundational backbone of our company. Melissa is an exceptional scientist whose knowledge and expertise in this area will have an enormous impact on Moderna. And, importantly, she shares our vision and commitment to help patients and improve lives. We could not be more thrilled."
Dr. Moore’s research at UMMS and HHMI has 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 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she also received her Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry. Dr. Moore also holds a B.S. in Chemistry and Biology from the College of William and Mary.
“As a member of Moderna’s Scientific Advisory Board, I've had a front row seat to experience their groundbreaking progress first-hand,” said Dr. Moore. “And through my work at the RTI and with MassTERi, I've come to appreciate the power of academic-industry collaboration and entrepreneurship. My new role at Moderna is a natural next step in my own progression as a basic researcher passionate about translating our ever-increasing knowledge of RNA biology into products that improve the human condition. I look forward to working with the incredibly talented Moderna team and building stronger connections and collaborations between Moderna and academia, as we work to advance the promise of mRNA therapeutics as a completely new modality for creating the medicines of the future.”
“As we prepare for the next stage of our growth, we have been looking for an exceptional scientific leader with expertise across molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry, and bioinformatics of mRNA to direct our basic science research efforts. But, just as important, we have been looking for someone who could mentor and inspire Moderna’s large and growing scientific team,” said Stephen Hoge, M.D., President of Moderna. “We feel incredibly fortunate to have found both in Melissa. Under her leadership we expect to accomplish great things on behalf of patients in the years ahead.”
About Moderna Therapeutics
Moderna is a clinical stage pioneer of messenger RNA Therapeutics™, an entirely new in vivo drug technology that produces human proteins, antibodies and entirely novel protein constructs inside patient cells, which are in turn secreted or active intracellularly. This breakthrough platform addresses currently undruggable targets and offers a superior alternative to existing drug modalities for a wide range of diseases and conditions. Moderna is developing and plans to commercialize its innovative mRNA drugs through its own ventures and its strategic relationships with established pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Its current ventures are: Onkaido, focused on oncology, Valera, focused on infectious diseases, Elpidera, focused on rare diseases, and Caperna, focused on personalized cancer vaccines. Founded by Flagship VentureLabs™, Cambridge-based Moderna is privately held and currently has strategic agreements with AstraZeneca, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Merck and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. To learn more, visit www.modernatx.com.