Flagship Ventures and private investors have led a $40m financing round for Moderna Therapeutics, a company developing a a biotherapeutic modality capable of stimulating the body’s ability to produce therapeutic proteins.
The new funding from the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based venture capital firm and a handful of undisclosed investors will be used to advance multiple programmes toward clinical stage development, the firm said in a statement released today.
Moderna is pioneering messenger RNA Therapeutics, a novel biotherapeutic modality with the unprecedented capability of stimulating the body’s natural ability to produce therapeutic proteins.
If successful in human clinical trials, this advance will usher in the first entirely new way of making therapeutic proteins since the development of recombinant technology more than 30 years ago, with dramatic implications for both patients and industry, it said.
Moderna was founded within Flagship VentureLabs, an innovation foundry dedicated to institutional entrepreneuring.
Over the past 18 months, Moderna has conducted proof-of-concept studies in preclinical models, including non-human primates, and has demonstrated the ability to induce in vivo production of dozens of intracellular and secreted therapeutic proteins through intramuscular, subcutaneous or intravenous administration across multiple preclinical models.
The company anticipates publishing and presenting the results of these studies in 2013.
Moderna has implemented an intellectual property strategy surrounding messenger RNA Therapeutics, filing over 80 patent applications reciting more than 4,000 claims covering novel chemical modifications, RNA engineering, formulation, composition of matter, route of administration and dosing.
The company has established preclinical programmes in four key therapeutic areas, comprising oncology supportive care, inherited genetic disorders, hemophilia and diabetes.
“Our messenger RNA Therapeutics platform has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of a wide variety of illnesses by opening up a completely new biotherapeutic modality, and by offering a technologically and financially superior path for the discovery, creation and endogenous production of therapeutic proteins,” said Stephane Bancel, pictured, president and founding CEO of Moderna.
“In the last 18 months, we have charged ahead in this space, vigorously pursuing a robust IP portfolio. We have hired an experienced employee base and cultivated leadership and advisory teams who are offering deep insights as we advance key programs into clinical development.
“We are working with great urgency and great care to translate this ground-breaking science into new treatments for patients.”
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