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Science  03 Feb 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6324, pp. 446-450
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6324.446

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Summary

Moderna Therapeutics has raised nearly $2 billion on the promise that messenger RNA, the molecule that relays genetic instructions from DNA to a cell's proteinmaking machinery, could be re-engineered into a versatile set of drugs and vaccines. These strands of instructions could teach our cells to make whatever was needed to treat or prevent disease—virus-slaying antibodies, waste-gobbling enzymes, heart-mending growth factors. The Cambridge, Massachusetts–based company has also developed a reputation for secrecy, revealing little in published papers and keeping even the disease targets of its clinical trials under wraps until recently. Now, as its first several products enter human trials, Moderna has begun to open up about its science. But the staggering levels of investment have raised expectations, and many wonder whether its pipeline, consisting mostly of vaccines for now, will expand to match its original vision.

  • * in Cambridge, Massachusetts