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Biotech Industry Veteran Joseph Bolen Joins Moderna Therapeutics to be President of Research and Development

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 31, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Moderna Therapeutics, the pioneering company developing messenger RNA therapeutics™, a revolutionary new treatment modality to enable the in vivo production of therapeutic proteins, announced today that Joseph Bolen, Ph.D., joined Moderna as its president of research and development (R&D).

Dr. Bolen, the chief scientific officer and global head of oncology research at Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company has served in senior leadership positions at Millennium since 1999. As the Millennium CSO and global head of research, Dr. Bolen has a proven track record of leading a large and multi-faceted international R&D organization while fostering a culture of scientific innovation within a global commercial-stage company. He has more than 30 years of industry and research experience and has been at the forefront of cancer and immunology research since starting his career as a scientist at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

"Messenger RNA therapeutics™ promises to vastly expand the number of diseases we can treat and usher in an entirely new era of drug discovery and development," said Stephane Bancel, president and founding CEO of Moderna. "To advance our internal programs in genetic rare diseases and oncology and support partners in many additional therapeutic areas, we are building an R&D organization that is second to none. Joe's deep scientific knowledge and strong vision will help us to create a culture and a structure that can move rapidly to turn scientific innovation into therapies that make a true difference for patients. I am very happy and honored to partner with such an accomplished and thoughtful scientific leader and drug hunter as Joe to build a very special company for patients and our team."

Dr. Bolen will oversee all aspects of R&D at Moderna, including discovery research, preclinical and clinical development, and clinical operations. His team will drive the discovery and development of compounds to support Moderna's existing and future research partnerships, as well as its internal efforts in rare diseases and oncology.

"The global scientific community is just beginning to understand the significant promise of Moderna's mRNA technology to advance science and improve human health. I am tremendously excited about expanding our knowledge of this new scientific field and pioneering the clinical application of this modality, which holds such great potential to treat a vast array of human diseases," Dr. Bolen said. "As someone who has dedicated his career to the discovery and development of innovative new medicines for people with cancer, I believe the therapeutic potential of Moderna's novel technology in oncology is particularly compelling. I am excited to work with the dedicated scientists and physicians at Moderna to build a respected R&D organization that is both scalable and flexible, with a clear focus on bringing better medicines to people with life-threatening illnesses."  

Prior to joining Millennium in 1999, Dr. Bolen held senior R&D positions at Hoechst Marion Roussel, Schering-Plough, and Bristol-Myers Squibb. He served as a member of the graduate faculty in the Department of Molecular Biology at Princeton University and spent 10 years at NIH where he made significant contributions to the discovery of a class of proteins known as tyrosine kinase oncogenes as key regulators of the immune system. He has published more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific articles and book chapters and presented hundreds of lectures and seminars at leading universities and national and international scientific meetings. Dr. Bolen graduated from the University of Nebraska with a B.S. degree in Microbiology & Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Immunology and conducted his postdoctoral training in Molecular Virology at the Kansas State University Cancer Center.

About Moderna Therapeutics
Moderna is pioneering messenger RNA therapeutics™, an entirely new in vivo drug modality that produces human proteins or antibodies inside patient cells, which are in turn active intracellularly or secreted. This breakthrough platform addresses currently undruggable targets and offers a superior alternative to existing drug modalities for a wide range of disease conditions. Moderna has developed a broad intellectual property estate, including 144 patent applications with 6,910 claims ranging from novel nucleotide chemistries to specific drug compositions. The company plans to develop and commercialize its innovative mRNA drugs—initially for rare diseases and oncology—while partnering drug candidates in other therapeutic areas in order to rapidly deliver this innovation to patients. Moderna is a privately held company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Visit to learn more.

For information contact:
Dan Quinn
Feinstein Kean Healthcare


SOURCE Moderna Therapeutics
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