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A Hot Biotech Company, Moderna Therapeutics

I’m writing to introduce you to a hot biotech in Cambridge, Massachusetts that just so happens to also be a client of Clark Executive Search. If you are a follower of FierceBiotech or twitter I am sure you will have heard of Moderna Therapeutics. But if not, here is a bit about them and the incredible number of deals they have done in a very short time.

Moderna Therapeutics  has a technology platform based on messengerRNA ( mRNA) which they plan to use to treat diseases by making proteins inside a patient’s cells. I am not expert enough to comment on the merits of the science behind this platform, but I do know that some very smart people, who should know better, have been brought on board in key leadership positions. In fact the management and scientific advisory board reads like a who’s who of biotech, pharma and academia with the likes of Stéphane Bancel, Joe Bolen, John  Reynders, Jack Szostak, Kenneth  Chien, Robert Langer, and Derrick Rossi. The fact that the company has raised a ton of money and has these super stars involved must mean something. But time will tell.

Moderna has been consistently raising money: they got $240 million from Astrazeneca, $25 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, $125 million from Alexion Pharmaceuticals, $110 million from private equity deals. But the exciting news was announced recently that Moderna will be spinning off its own company, named Onkaido, to focus on cancer targets. They will invest $20 million into this new company.

I was really excited to get a call last fall by an old friend in senior management at Moderna, who I had once placed at a major pharmaceutical company. He had a job he needed help filling and I quickly agreed to work with him. Any company that he joined had to be worth it, as I knew him to be a brilliant scientist. The job was for a Head of Automation and they needed someone with cutting edge knowledge of all the latest research machines currently on the market, especially next generation sequencing equipment. I knew a lot about this area having once done searches for Pacific Biosciences. The job description was for someone to set up the department, including buy all the necessary equipment. So this was an important role in the company and I knew I had to find someone who was stellar. In the end, I found someone from The Broad and everyone is happy with the outcome.

I have been recruiting for 20 years now for biotech and pharma and I really think this is a company to watch. And hopefully I will be able to continue helping them with their recruiting efforts in the future.

Related Article from Xconomy 

Related Article: John Reynders on Building a Cloud Based Biotech