Moderna teams up with Karolinska to flesh out its mRNA promise

Well-funded biotech Moderna Therapeutics has inked a long-term deal with Sweden's Karolinska Institutet to spotlight new applications for the company's messenger RNA technology. Under the agreement, Moderna will sponsor research grants to support Karolinska scientists with preclinical ideas for its mRNA platform, taking the best and brightest programs into the clinic on its own. Moderna's flagship technology has the potential to spur the production of human proteins or antibodies within patient cells, effectively creating an in vivo factory for targeted therapies. And the Karolinska deal, the company's first academic partnership, is an effort to expand its applications, CEO Stéphane Bancel said. Moderna, a 2013 Fierce 15 winner, has pulled in more than $300 million in venture and partnership cash since its 2012 foundation, teaming up with the likes of AstraZeneca ($AZN) and Alexion ($ALXN) along the way. More