Founded in 2010, Moderna Therapeutics is a biotech giant that specializes in mRNA technology. Basically, Moderna focuses on the creation of synthetic mRNA (ribonucleic acids), which are molecules that serve as the template for the production of proteins. The company introduces an entirely novel way of creating and administering drugs: synthetic mRNA is injected into patients in order to trigger their own cells to make their own proteins. Since last year, the company has started to make their clinical data open to the public.
Recently, the company has raised more than $500 million in a new funding round. This is not the first time that Moderna has pulled off a nine-figure financing in one funding round. In fact, back in 2016, it has raised more than $474 million, hence the largest private financing of the year. In total, the company has raised more than $1.5 billion since it was founded, repeatedly putting off public offering because it delays the process.
Some of Moderna Therapeutics’s existing investors such as Fidelity Management & Research Company, Pictet, ArrowMark Partners, Viking Global Investors, and Alexandria Venture Investments also joined this round. Moderna’s global group of new investors include Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Julius Baer, Biotech AG, Sequoia Capital China, and Singapore-based EDBI.
At present, Moderna Therapeutics has approximately $1.4 billion on its balance sheet. Aside from this amount, the company has $250 million additional financial grants from various foundations and agencies like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) are received. More than half of the amount of financial grant would come from BARDA, which awarded Moderna in 2016 for its development of the vaccine for the Zika virus.
With such cash, the company is placed at a valuation of $7 to $8 billion. According to the company. About $450 million is expected to be spent this year and that it gives a three-year runway. Furthermore, the company is thinking about making an initial public offering and other plans which are yet to be made public.
According to Moderna, the funding they’ve received will aid them in their plan to execute their growing business of 19 therapies in development and 10 more programs in clinical trials. Aside from that, the funding will further help Moderna in pursuing research in various areas such as drug discovery in rare diseases and development of preventive vaccines. The money will also be allocated to Moderna’s manufacturing infrastructure and digital backbone. Furthermore, some of the funds will be used in the development of the mRNA science and technology.
In 2018, many analysts think that the competition in the drug market will be tougher for Moderna as other biotech companies are also starting to join the mRNA craze. These companies include BioNTech, CureVac, and Translate Bio. Nevertheless, Moderna seems to stand out from them because of its significant growth and consistent fundraising ability.