Moderna & Harvard Inc. Strategic Preclinical Research Pact Focusing on Immunological Diseases

Sep 28, 2019 | Harvard, Immunology, Immunotherapy, Moderna, mRNA, RNA

Moderna Inc. is a clinical-stage biotech venture pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines to create a new generation of transformative medicines announced a multi-year research collaboration and associated investment with Harvard University with the goal of identifying and developing novel therapeutic approaches that could improve the lives of patients with immunological diseases.

TrialSite News provided an overview of Moderna late 2018 and what follows is a summary of the deal both parties just inked.

ARTiMIS: Moderna Invests in Harvard for Dedicated Focus

Moderna will infuse additional capital into Harvard Medical School establishing an initiative called the Alliance for RNA Therapies for the Modulation of the Immune System (ARTiMIS), which will enable basic science research in the field of immunology using Moderna’s mRNA and nanoparticle delivery technology. In fact, HMS is hosting a symposium with Moderna to launch the ARTiMIS initiative today.

Why Immunology?

Stephen Hope, MD, president of Moderna commented “Immunological dysfunction is at the heart of the biggest medical challenges faced today. Harvard University and its affiliated medical institutions are leaders in advancing basic and translational science to better understand the biological mechanisms of these complex disorders.” He continued, we believe that combining our technical capabilities in mRNA delivery with Harvard Medical School’s expertise in immunology will lead to innovative therapies with the potential to make a significant impact on people’s lives.

More on ARTiMIS Initiative

In this new initiative, HMS-affiliated investigators now have access to Moderna’s platform for mRNA and novel immune delivery and will offer financial support for exploratory research projects, including the work of postdoctoral researchers at HMS.

Moderna offers initial funding for ARTiMIS through a $1.2 million grant and will also provide investigators with mRNA and nanoparticle delivery technology and materials.

What are the Criteria for ARTiMIS funded projects?

The projects selected for funding by ARTiMIS will target advanced understandings of fundamental immunological processes, generate new mechanistic insights in the pathogenesis of immunological diseases and uncover novel approaches to the prevention, diagnosis, and therapy of human diseases.

Broader Deal: Moderna to Sponsor Harvard Investigative Research on mRNA Platform

Additionally, Moderna entered into a multi-year research deal with the university at large via the Harvard Office of Technology Development. Under this collaboration framework, Moderna will initially provide sponsored research funding of up to $2.45 million in support of a project led by Ulrich von Andrian, MD, Ph.D., the Edward Mallinckrodt Jr. Professor of Immunopathology and Director of the Center of Immune Imaging at HMS. The project aims to use mRNA technologies to study and manipulate the migration of immune cells from blood to tissues.

Summary of Deals

Harvard and Moderna have entered into a broad-based, comprehensive pact that can benefit both parties—funding, intellectual property and relevant immunology therapeutic targets are the common underlying foundation for what could “enable Harvard researchers to make impactful advanced in biomedical science, from the generation of basic biological insights to, we hope, the preclinical development of new immunotherapies” reported Isaac Kohlberg, Harvard’s Chief Technology Development Officer, and Senior Associate Provost.

Lead Research/Investigator

Ulrich von Andrian, MD, Ph.D., the Edward Mallinckrodt Jr. Professor of Immunopathology and Director of the Center of Immune Imaging at HMS

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