Moderna Therapeutics, a biotech unicorn valued at more than $7.5 billion, could be gearing up for an IPO as early as this winter

Moderna Therapeutics may file for an initial public offering as early as this winter, STAT news reported earlier this week.

The Cambridge-based biotech unicorn was founded in 2010 and now has a valuation of more than $7.5 billion. Additionally, Moderna has reportedly hired banks including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, and Morgan Stanley to help it gear up for its stock debut.

Moderna Therapeutics declined to comment on the report.

Moderna develops messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines, which hijacks the body’s cells to produce proteins that can combat cancer, infectious disease, rare diseases, and cardiovascular diseases. These types of therapeutics can present certain complications. Researchers have to avoid immune reactions, target specific cells, safely transfer mRNA into cells, and ensure that enough protein is being made.

Over the past five years, Moderna has spent $450 million on research into mRNA medicines and plans to spend another $500 million over the next five years, according to the American Chemical Society.

According to a recent press release, Moderna has 21 mRNA-based candidates in its pipeline. Of those, 10 are in clinical development including 9 infectious disease vaccine programs and 7 candidates in Phase 1 trials.

Last week, the company announced that Dr. Wellington Sun will join the company as its head of Vaccine Strategy and Regulatory Affairs, starting later in September. Sun previously held a position at the FDA as the Director of the Division of Vaccines and Related Product Applications at the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

Moderna is currently engaged in strategic relationships with AstraZeneca, Merck, and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. It has also disclosed connections to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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