Press Releases 03.28.2016
Moderna Therapeutics Appoints Saqib Islam as Chief Business Officer
Seasoned Industry Leader to Join Moderna’s Executive Team
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Moderna Therapeutics, a clinical stage pioneer in the development of messenger RNA (mRNA) Therapeutics™, announced today that Saqib Islam has been appointed Chief Business Officer, effective May 9th. As a member of the executive leadership team, among Mr. Islam’s areas of focus will be oversight of Moderna’s global strategic planning, corporate development and business development functions. Each of these functions will be critical to Moderna as the company progresses its pipeline and seeks to accelerate its commercial potential.
Mr. Islam joins Moderna from Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he served as Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy and Portfolio Officer. In that role, he led Alexion’s Corporate Strategy, Corporate Development, Business Development, Enterprise Risk Management, Competitive Intelligence and Corporate Project Management functions and had primary responsibility for executing Alexion’s corporate growth strategies and contributing to its assessment and management of global operations. Previously, Mr. Islam worked for over 20 years in international business management with a focus on business development, strategic decision-making and planning, and capital markets.
“We are thrilled to welcome Saqib to our team; his expertise, intellect and drive for excellence are a perfect fit for Moderna. From his prior vantage point at Alexion, both as a partner and an investor, Saqib has had an in-depth view under the Moderna hood and knows of the unprecedented potential of our company,” said Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer at Moderna. “Our research engine is enabling us to amass a pipeline the scale of which has not previously been imagined. With his excellent business acumen and innovative thinking, Saqib will guide Moderna in architecting and implementing the business development and global strategic activities we will need to accommodate and maximize this potential.”
Mr. Islam’s extensive background in the healthcare banking sector includes previous positions of increasing responsibility in the investment banking divisions of Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse Securities. Earlier in his career, Mr. Islam provided strategic analysis and counseled clients across a broad set of industry segments for The Boston Consulting Group. He received a bachelor’s degree from McGill University and a J.D. from Columbia Law School.
“Already a clinical stage company, Moderna has extraordinary opportunities ahead of it, with its breakthrough science, accelerated discovery engine, and unique business model, and a demonstrated organizational agility with respect to advancing its pipeline,” said Mr. Islam. “I look forward to working closely with Stéphane and the leadership team as we evaluate these opportunities and evolve Moderna’s internal development and external partnering strategies to support the creation and commercialization of a new generation of transformative medicines for patients.”
Moderna’s pipeline is composed of a series of novel drug modalities, each representing a distinct application of the company’s proprietary core expression mRNA platform to encode proteins that achieve a therapeutic benefit. Moderna’s current modalities include infectious disease vaccines, personalized cancer vaccines, intracellular/transmembrane liver proteins, intratumoral cancer therapy, and secreted antibodies and proteins. Moderna is leveraging these modalities to advance drugs across a broad spectrum of therapeutic areas via its wholly owned ventures, as well as a growing number of partnering companies and organizations.
About Moderna Therapeutics
Moderna is a clinical stage pioneer of messenger RNA Therapeutics™, an entirely new in vivo drug technology that produces human proteins, antibodies and entirely novel protein constructs inside patient cells, which are in turn secreted or active intracellularly. This breakthrough platform addresses currently undruggable targets and offers a superior alternative to existing drug modalities for a wide range of diseases and conditions. Moderna is developing and plans to commercialize its innovative mRNA drugs through its own ventures and its strategic relationships with established pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Its current ventures are: Onkaido, focused on oncology, Valera, focused on infectious diseases, Elpidera, focused on rare diseases, and Caperna, focused on personalized cancer vaccines. Cambridge-based Moderna is privately held and currently has strategic agreements with AstraZeneca, Alexion Pharmaceuticals and Merck. www.modernatx.com.