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Fenwick Client Moderna Therapeutics Signs Groundbreaking $240M License Agreement with AstraZeneca

March 21, 2013

Fenwick & West LLP client Moderna Therapeutics, the Cambridge, MA company that is pioneering an entirely new drug modality using messenger RNA therapeutics, has announced an exclusive agreement to license its protein-stimulating technology to AstraZeneca PLC. Under the agreement, AstraZeneca will use Moderna’s messenger RNA technology, which stimulates the body’s ability to produce therapeutic proteins, to develop as many as 40 drugs over the next five years to combat cardiovascular diseases and cancer. In addition to the $240 million upfront payment it received from AstraZeneca, Moderna will be entitled to $180 million for achieving certain technical milestones.

Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said that this is the largest partnering agreement between a drug maker and a biotech that had not yet brought an experimental treatment to the clinical-trial stage of development.