AN FRANCISCO — Moderna Therapeutics, the most highly valued private company in biotech, has run into troubling safety problems with its most ambitious therapy, STAT has learned — and is now banking on a mysterious new technology to keep afloat its brash promise of reinventing modern medicine.

Exactly one year ago, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel talked up his company’s “unbelievable” future before a standing-room-only crowd at the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference here. He promised that Moderna’s treatment for a rare and debilitating disease known as Crigler-Najjar syndrome, developed alongside biotech giant Alexion Pharmaceuticals, would enter human trials in 2016.

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  • I am a big fan of STAT News. It provides the best pharmaceutical articles of any publications. What would round off this article would be a brief discussion of the bios of the characters involved. S Bancel does not have a scientific degree. His background is in manufacturing and supply chain. His right hand, and president of Moderna, is an MD who seem to have never practiced, according to the bio on the website, but went to “advise” companies on behalf of McKinsey and company. So none of the two top leaders have an education or background in research.

  • “mRNA is like software: You can just turn the crank and get a lot of products going into development.” — that statement in itself would disqualify someone from being hired at a serious research organization.

    • Exactly! Crank – LOL! And firing bench scientists after unsuccessful experiments shows amazing lack of understanding of scientific progress.

  • “workplace accolades from Science Magazine and The Boston Globe” — yeah.. we all know the “value” of those accolades..

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