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Moderna and Flagship Pioneering: Noubar Afeyan

Noubar Afeyan is co-founder of Moderna.
Kristen Uroda for NPR

In the field of bio-tech, it can take 10 years and millions of dollars to see if an experimental idea might turn into a life-saving treatment—if it ever does. Noubar Afeyan fully understood those risks when he co-founded Moderna in 2010. He and his colleagues were looking for a way to deploy the messenger RNA molecule to tackle life-threatening diseases.

In January of 2020, an urgent opportunity presented itself in the form of a deadly virus that was spreading across the globe. At a breathtaking pace, Moderna produced a prototype for a COVID-19 vaccine, partnered with the NIH to test it, and produced millions of doses, becoming part of the most rapid vaccine roll-out in human history.

While Moderna is the best known of Noubar's companies, he has launched many others in the bio-tech space as part of Flagship Pioneering, his multi-billion dollar venture studio.

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