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Moderna Therapeutics wins DARPA grant to fight biological threats

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Cambridge-based Moderna Therapeutics said it has been awarded a federal grant worth up to $25 million to develop antibody-producing drugs that could be used to protect people against engineered biological threats.

The grant is from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, which is part of the US Department of Defense.

Moderna Therapeutics specializes in messenger RNA therapeutics, which can tap directly into the body’s natural processes to produce antibodies without exposing people to a weakened or inactivated virus or pathogen.

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As the company noted in a press release, “Moderna’s messenger RNA therapeutics platform has the potential to speed the development and manufacture of treatments that can produce a safer, more reliable and more robust immune response than existing technologies.”

The hope is that Moderna Therapeutics will be able to make antibody-producing drugs that protect against a wide range of known and unknown emerging infectious diseases as well as biological threats.

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