CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—A year after it attracted the largest private financing round ever for a biotechnology company, Moderna Therapuetics is receiving another major show of support for its messenger RNA (mRNA) technology. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced a $20-million grant to Moderna to advance the development of an affordable mRNA-based cocktail of antibody therapeutics to help prevent human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. The development efforts will be led by Valera, Moderna’s year-old infectious disease-focused subsidiary.
The initial $20 million provided by the Gates Foundation grant could be just a fraction of a longer-term contribution. The Gates Foundation and Moderna have reached an agreement that could eventually lead to another $80 million in grants from the foundation. Bancel says that the additional funding could be used to advance the HIV antibody program if Phase 1 studies are successful, or it could also be used to launch new programs focused on developing mRNA-based antibody treatments for other infectious diseases.
So Bill Gates provides $80 million in grants to Moderna for MessengerRNA vaccines that can rewrite your DNA!