Moderna And Charles River Laboratories Announce Strategic Collaboration To Scale Moderna’s Nonclinical Development Efforts For Novel mRNA Therapeutics

Partnership will support Moderna’s expanding pipeline and help accelerate discovery programs and development candidate progress into the clinic

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. & WILMINGTON, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Moderna Therapeutics, a clinical stage pioneer in the development of messenger RNA (mRNA) Therapeutics™ and Charles River Laboratories International, Inc. (NYSE:CRL), a leading early-stage contract research organization (CRO), today announced a strategic collaboration to support Moderna’s nonclinical discovery and development efforts. Charles River will be a key partner as Moderna continues to grow and advance its pipeline spanning multiple drug modalities and therapeutic areas, conducting nonclinical activities to progress development candidates through investigational new drug (IND)-enabling studies and into the clinic.

“We look forward to employing our unique portfolio and extensive scientific expertise to support Moderna’s nonclinical discovery and development needs and advance its mRNA platform.”

“With ten programs in development across our internal efforts and external collaborations, Moderna continues to generate development candidates and discovery programs at an accelerated pace through our unique mRNA therapeutics research engine. This strategic relationship will help enable the scale, efficiency and speed needed to support the full breadth of discovery programs underway and to continue advancing our development candidates,” said Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna. “In particular, this collaboration will allow us to accelerate GLP toxicology study timelines, which will be instrumental as we continue to progress our development candidates into the clinic. Charles River’s expertise across discovery and nonclinical development activities, combined with their familiarity with our novel platform, make them an excellent partner for Moderna. The ability to work with Charles River in its Massachusetts facility will enhance the collaboration, given its proximity to our operations in Cambridge.”

Moderna’s pipeline is composed of a series of novel drug modalities, each representing a distinct application of the company’s proprietary core expression mRNA platform to encode proteins that achieve a therapeutic benefit. Moderna’s current modalities include infectious disease vaccines, personalized cancer vaccines, rare disease-associated intracellular/transmembrane liver proteins, intratumoral cancer therapy, and secreted antibodies and proteins. Moderna is leveraging these modalities to advance drugs across a broad spectrum of therapeutic areas via its wholly owned ventures as well as a growing ecosystem of partners.

For nearly 70 years, Charles River has been in the business of providing the research models required in research and development of new drugs, devices and therapies. Over this time, the company has expanded upon its core competency of in vivo biology to develop a diverse portfolio of discovery and safety assessment services, both Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) and non-GLP, which is able to support clients from target identification through preclinical development. Utilizing Charles River’s broad portfolio of products and services, which can be tailored to specific research requirements, enables clients to create a more flexible drug development model which reduces their costs, enhances their productivity and effectiveness, and increases speed to market.

“We are very pleased to enter into this strategic relationship with Moderna,” said James C. Foster, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Charles River Laboratories. “We look forward to employing our unique portfolio and extensive scientific expertise to support Moderna’s nonclinical discovery and development needs and advance its mRNA platform.”

About Moderna Therapeutics

Moderna is a clinical stage pioneer of messenger RNA Therapeutics™, an entirely new in vivo drug technology that produces human proteins, antibodies and novel protein constructs inside patient cells, which are in turn secreted or active intracellularly. This breakthrough platform addresses currently undruggable targets and offers a superior alternative to existing drug modalities for a wide range of disease conditions. Moderna is developing and plans to commercialize its innovative mRNA drugs through its own ventures and through its strategic relationships with established pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Its current ventures are: Onkaido, focused on oncology, Valera, focused on infectious diseases, Elpidera, focused on rare diseases, and Caperna, focused on personalized cancer vaccines. Cambridge-based Moderna is privately held and currently has strategic agreements with AstraZeneca, Alexion Pharmaceuticals and Merck.

About Charles River

Charles River provides essential products and services to help pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, government agencies and leading academic institutions around the globe accelerate their research and drug development efforts. Our dedicated employees are focused on providing clients with exactly what they need to improve and expedite the discovery, early-stage development and safe manufacture of new therapies for the patients who need them. To learn more about our unique portfolio and breadth of services, visit


Moderna Therapeutics
Maren Winnick, 617-674-5297
Jess Rowlands, 202-729-4089
Charles River Laboratories
Susan E. Hardy, 781-222-6190
Amy Cianciaruso, 781-222-6168

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