CAMBRIDGE, Mass., March 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Moderna Therapeutics, a pioneer in the development of messenger RNA (mRNA) Therapeutics™ across a range of therapeutic applications, announced today that Tal Zaks, M.D., Ph.D., will join Moderna's executive leadership team as chief medical officer, effective March 16.
Prior to joining Moderna, Dr. Zaks was senior vice president and head of Global Oncology at Sanofi, where he was responsible for all aspects of oncology drug discovery, development and commercialization.
"Moderna holds an unprecedented financial position among pre-clinical biotech companies, with $900 million on its balance sheet and strategic agreements with three industry leaders: AstraZeneca, Alexion and Merck," said Stephane Bancel, chief executive officer of Moderna. "As we prepare to initiate several clinical trials in the coming quarters, we require an exceptional chief medical officer, someone with a track record of success in clinical development combined with strong business acumen. Tal is that leader. He has a unique ability to think outside the box and execute for business results. We are delighted that he chose to join Moderna."
"I am thrilled to be joining Moderna and be at the forefront of translating innovative science into real medicines for patients," said Dr. Zaks. "I've been impressed with the potential of messenger RNA Therapeutics to expand and accelerate drug development for a wide range of unmet medical needs and I look forward to working with the leadership team, our partners and our ventures to fulfill this vision."
Dr. Zaks began his industry career at GlaxoSmithKline in the genetics research group, where he built the oncology translational medicine team and led translational research on lapatinib as well as the in-licensing and clinical development of foretinib. In addition to his industry work, Dr. Zaks is associate professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and has served as a volunteer physician at the Philadelphia Veterans Administration Medical Center, treating patients with genitourinary cancers.
Dr. Zaks received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the Ben Gurion University in Israel and conducted post-doctoral research at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. He completed his clinical training in internal medicine at Temple University Hospital followed by a fellowship in medical oncology at the University of Pennsylvania.
For more information on Moderna Therapeutics and potential partnership opportunities, please visit www.modernatx.com.
About Moderna Therapeutics
Moderna is pioneering 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 disease conditions. The company currently plans to develop and commercialize its innovative mRNA drugs through a combination of strategic relationships as well as newly formed ventures, including Onkaido LLC, focused on oncology drug development, and Valera LLC, focused on infectious diseases. Founded by Flagship VentureLabs™, Cambridge-based Moderna is privately held and currently has strategic agreements with AstraZeneca, Alexion Pharmaceuticals and Merck. www.modernatx.com.
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SOURCE Moderna Therapeutics