Former Pfizer research executive to lead scientific efforts in oncology drug development leveraging Moderna’s messenger RNA Therapeutics™ platform
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 7, 2015— Onkaido Therapeutics, a venture company formed, funded and wholly-owned by Moderna Therapeutics, a pioneer in the development of messenger RNA (mRNA) Therapeutics™, announced today that Michael J. Morin, Ph.D., joins Onkaido as chief scientific officer. Launched in January 2014, Onkaido is Moderna’s first venture company, focused exclusively on the use of Moderna’s mRNA platform for the development and commercialization of oncology treatments.
“At Onkaido, we are dedicated to growing our mRNA Therapeutics platform in oncology to transform the lives of patients with cancer,” said Stephen Kelsey, M.D., president of Onkaido. “With Mike’s exceptional track record in the discovery and development of cancer treatments, he will bring critical expertise and leadership to Onkaido’s team of top scientists.”
Dr. Morin’s oncology career spans academia and industry, including 17 years at Pfizer serving in a variety of positions, most recently as vice president of global research and development in Groton, CT, overseeing antibacterials, immunology and cancer drug discovery. During Dr. Morin’s time at Pfizer, some 40 clinical candidates were discovered under his leadership, most notably the discovery through Phase 2 proof-of-concept for erlotinib (Tarceva™), a small molecule inhibitor of the epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase (a blockbuster drug marketed by Roche and Astellas). Following his time at Pfizer, Dr. Morin worked as an advisor to venture-backed biotechnology and publicly-held pharmaceutical companies and has continued his active support of a variety of cancer research organizations at the local and national level.
“I am pleased to join Onkaido as chief scientific officer to help advance new mRNA-based oncology treatments from discovery to commercialization,” said Dr. Morin. “I am truly excited by the opportunity to lead research with Moderna’s mRNA Therapeutics platform – a technology with real potential to transform the way cancer is treated.”
For more information on Onkaido, please visit onkaido.com. For more information on Moderna Therapeutics please visit modernatx.com.
About Onkaido, a Moderna Venture
Onkaido, a venture company formed, funded and wholly-owned by Moderna, is focused exclusively on the advancement of oncology products for previously undruggable targets and as a superior alternative to existing drug modalities. Leveraging Moderna’s messenger RNA Therapeutics™ platform, an entirely new in vivo drug modality that produces human proteins, and antibodies and entirely novel protein constructs inside patient cells, Onkaido currently plans to rapidly turn scientific innovation into cancer therapies that can make a real difference for patients.
About Moderna Therapeutics
Moderna is pioneering 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 disease conditions. The company currently plans to develop and commercialize its innovative mRNA drugs through a combination of strategic relationships as well as newly formed ventures, including Onkaido LLC, focused on oncology drug development. Founded by Flagship VentureLabs™, Cambridge-based Moderna is privately held and currently has strategic agreements with AstraZeneca and Alexion Pharmaceuticals.