Moderna Therapeutics receives grant from DARPA

Moderna Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biopharmaceutical company, announced a grant worth up to $25 million on Tuesday from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

The grant covers the research and development of messenger RNA therapeutics to rapidly and reliably make antibody-producing drugs to protect against engineered biological threats and known and unknown emerging infectious diseases.

"We are honored to be chosen by DARPA for this important grant, which will greatly accelerate our efforts to develop antibody messenger RNA therapeutics to combat a wide range of infectious diseases," Stephane Bancel, the president and founding CEO of Moderna, said. "We were awarded this major grant after an intense and rigorous scientific review, and it is a testament to our team's progress and to the profound implications of messenger RNA therapeutics that our work was funded. We look forward to further expanding the development of our platform into this critically important new therapeutic area."

Messenger RNA therapeutics can be designed to tap into the body's processes for antibody production without exposing people to a weakened or inactivated pathogen or virus. Moderna's messenger RNA therapeutics could speed up the development and manufacture of treatments with a safer, more robust and more reliable immune response than current treatments.

The $24.6 million grant could support research for up to five years to advance promising drug candidates into preclinical testing and human clinical trials. In March, Moderna received a $700,000 seedling grant from DARPA to start work on the project.