The Messenger

The Messenger

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

Peter Loftus


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At the start of 2020, Moderna was still years away from delivering their first product. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit, and Moderna seized its moment. By year's end, as the outbreak was at its worst, Moderna delivered one of the world's first Covid-19 vaccines with a stunningly high rate of protection. The achievement not only offered the world a way out of a crippling pandemic, but also validated Moderna's gene-based technology, transforming the company into a global industry power, swelling its market value on its prospects for new drugs and vaccines for years to come. This is the inside story of a company that went all in on a single revolutionary idea; of quiet research with unknown consequence; of the evolution of cutting-edge American innovation, industry, and economy—decades in the making—that led to one of the great biotech gambles in history.

  • Page-turning narrative.
  • Insight into how VC works in pharma.
  • Insight into the complex collaborations that define pharma/biotech R&D.
  • Smart peek into the future of innovation in pharma/biotech.

Audience: General audience that likes narrative, is up on current events and likes business strategy. Smart beach read.


Peter Loftus:

Peter Loftus writes about the pharmaceutical industry and health care for the Wall Street Journal. Based in Philadelphia, he covers large drugmakers, biotech firms, and the latest developments in drug research and innovation. He has followed Moderna and the wider chase for a Covid-19 vaccine from their start. He is part of a Journal reporting team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Follow Peter Loftus on Twitter @loftus.