It’s no secret that Moderna’s R&D efforts have expanded well beyond the realm of COVID-19. CFO Jamey Mock tells us that today the company has more than 40 drugs in its pipeline, with targets such as respiratory, latent, onocology and rare diseases. As he explains, this diversity means that the biotech innovator is reliant not solely on one product or therapeutic area, which makes for less risk than would be the case if the company had only a single product focus.
Meanwhile, Mock leaves little doubt that the finance function is included in the firm’s appetite for innovation when he details how Moderna’s innovative use of mRNA technology has been a key factor in de-risking its R&D investments. Mock emphasizes that mRNA is the body’s information molecule, which Moderna can quickly reprogram to target different diseases. This adaptability and flexibility make it easier for the company to adjust its approach if initial trials or results are suboptimal.
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CFOTL: Tell us about Moderna … what does this company do, and what are its offerings today?
Mock: I think that what most people don’t understand about Moderna is that it is so much more than a COVID company. In fact, that’s just scratching the surface. I’ll walk us through a little of the timeline and journey of the company, but the basis for it all is that we really have a platform that can prevent and solve many different diseases—and that’s what we’re doing. We have over 40 drugs in our pipeline, and we’ll be coming out with four or five new ones within the next few years.Read More
We’re in the respiratory space. We’re in the latent disease space, which just means that you’ve had a virus in your body, but it hasn’t manifested itself for a while. We’re in the oncology space and the rare disease space—and the platform can really do so much more. I joined Moderna because the company has a chance to truly transform healthcare, which is very exciting.
I wasn’t really looking to leave PerkinElmer, but Moderna just seems like such an incredible opportunity because it’s still relatively young from an overall company perspective, being only 13 years old. We have this amazing pipeline and ability to improve so many people’s lives. Five years ago, we were simply a research company, with no commercial products on the market. Then, along came COVID, and we had to become commercial as quickly as possible.
We jump-started our manufacturing and ramped up our partners, and over the past few years we’ve ended up serving over a billion people all over the world. We had almost $40 billion in sales over the course of a couple of years. When I joined, in late 2022, this was starting to wind down.
Another important point is that we knew that COVID wasn’t going to be around forever, so we invested a ton in R&D. To put this into perspective, in 2019, we spent about half a billion dollars on R&D. This year, we’ll spend nearly $5 billion. We knew that we had to bring more drugs to market as fast as possible—and we were very fortunate to have the capital to be able to do this.
As I said, when I joined, the volumes were coming down. We have had to help to resize the business over the past couple of years by reducing our manufacturing footprint. This is not completely done, but our team has done a lot of hard work on it. We need to bring our new drugs to market. We’ll launch four or five by 2025, and by 2028, we hope to have launched 15. All of these are the fruit of the R&D and investment that we put into the company. So, in a nutshell, that’s the Moderna that I joined—and we’re quite excited about things.