Moderna, the Vaccine, and the Business Gamble That Changed the World

Presented on: Wednesday, February 15th at 11:00 AM CST

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Peter Loftus, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal covering the pharmaceutical industry, tells the story of Moderna, the biotechnology startup with big ambitions to pioneer a brand new way of making medicines. The small company's scientists and leaders mainly labored in obscurity for ten years before the Covid-19 pandemic and were met with skepticism that they could successfully turn gene-based "messenger RNA" technology into new drugs and vaccines. When the pandemic hit, Moderna seized the moment to embark on one of the most consequential quests in medical history, delivering an effective Covid-19 vaccine within the year--and transforming the company into a household name and industry leader. 

In this compelling webinar, Peter Loftus, author of The Messenger: Moderna, the Vaccine and the Business Gamble that Changed the World, will discuss the people behind messenger RNA scientific research and Moderna's inception, the company's growth and setbacks over a decade, its high-stakes response to the pandemic in 2020, and what lies ahead for the company and mRNA technology. 

About the author: Peter Loftus has been a journalist for 30 years and is currently a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, covering the drug and medical-device industries and other healthcare topics. He was part of a Journal team that won second place in the business category of the 2020 Association of Health Care Journalists' awards for coverage of the race for a Covid-19 vaccine. In 2016 he was part of a Journal team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in explanatory reporting for a series of articles about rising prescription drug prices. He has also written about advances in cancer research, drug shortages, and the growing use of mobile devices in healthcare. Before joining the Journal in 2013, he was a Dow Jones Newswires reporter covering the pharmaceutical and technology industries. Before that, he worked for community newspapers in suburban Philadelphia. He lives outside Philadelphia with his wife and three children.  

The views expressed by presenters are their own and their appearance in a program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by University of Missouri.