Moderna has a unique opportunity to make a profound impact on global human health by developing new vaccines and therapeutics at a pace that is radically different from what the industry has previously accomplished. The young company transformed from a science research-stage company advancing programs in the field of messenger RNA (mRNA), to an enterprise pioneering a portfolio of vaccines and therapeutics across six modalities. As we all know, Moderna’s capabilities brought us one of the earliest and most-effective vaccines against the COVID-19 pandemic, but the company is also meeting unmet needs with a total of 37 mRNA development programs in its portfolio.
Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine has been the company’s most significant innovation to date. Moderna designs its mRNA vaccines using the sequence of the virus to replicate a part of the virus—in this case, replicating the SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) protein—rather than a weakened or inactive virus used in typical vaccines. Therefore, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine cannot make someone sick with the virus.
Due to two years of collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in mRNA work, Moderna was able to finalize the sequence for the COVID-19 vaccine just two days after the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus was shared, which is quicker than any vaccine sequencing done before.
Moderna’s New Venture Labs is the company’s internal incubator for ongoing exploration. This team’s blue-sky discussions reveal new research directions driven by curiosity and fueled by the potential of mRNA science.
Moderna’s COVID-19 efforts created hundreds of jobs, increasing its employee numbers from 800 in 2019 to more than 1,800 employees by June 2021. At the end of 2020, approximately 37% of the leadership team were women, an increase from 35% in 2019.
Moderna enhanced existing and added new employee programs that include seminars focused on wellness and inclusion, pop-up childcare, an employee assistance program, a meditation app, take-home dinners for those on-site, and a new resource group for parents.
Moderna takes on a responsibility to help ensure a pandemic of COVID’s magnitude never happens again. The company has committed to supply up to 500 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to COVAX to help expand access and protect populations around the world. Moderna also pledged that it will not enforce its COVID-19 related patents while the pandemic continues and it will license its IP for COVID-19 vaccines to others upon request for the post-pandemic period.
In 2021, Moderna committed to the direct use of renewable energy in its U.S. facilities, with its new science center set to be LEED Zero certificated and designed to be the most sustainable commercial lab building in Cambridge.
Moderna’s second annual Volunteer Week introduced more virtual volunteer activities, which doubled the number of volunteer opportunities for team members and the number of organizations it reached.