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When Jacob Becraft addressed a bustling party of a hundred-plus employees, friends, and investors at his startup’s lab last month, he credited messenger RNA for bringing everyone back together in one room.

His remarks carried a double meaning. Yes, the mRNA vaccines had allowed the large group to gather in person — not a mask in sight. But Becraft’s Strand Therapeutics is also one of several Boston-area startups buoyed by the success of the COVID-19 shots and hoping to expand the reach of mRNA medicines into cancer and other diseases.

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