Moderna Therapeutics, a Cambridge, MA-based developer of messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics, has created Onkaido Therapeutics, a new venture focused exclusively on developing mRNA-based oncology treatments.
Onkaido Therapeutics will launch with $20m in committed capital from Moderna to focus initially on 15 pre-clinical drug candidates in the areas of apoptosis, central regulatory nodes and immunotherapy. Several of these candidates are already under evaluation in in vivo disease models.
By establishing Onkaido as a standalone unit, Moderna intends to accelerate the development of mRNA Therapeutics™ for oncology and deliver the potential of these new cancer treatments to patients.
Stephen Hoge, M.D., senior vice president, corporate development and new drug concepts at Moderna will take on the role of founding chief executive officer for Onkaido, and Peter F. Smith, Ph. D., former head of non-clinical discovery and development at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, will serve as founding chief scientific officer.
Founded in late 2010 by Flagship VentureLabs, Led by Stephane Bancel, president and founding CEO, Moderna Therapeutics develops mRNA Therapeutics™, an entirely new in vivo drug modality that produces human proteins or antibodies inside patient cells, which are in turn secreted or active intracellularly.