Conversations with Mike Milken

Conversations with Mike Milken

COVID-19 has changed the way we work and live. In response to the public health emergency, Milken Institute Chairman Michael Milken is engaging a range of industry leaders and medical experts to help us better understand and confront a crisis that has not only altered our current day-to-day but will change the course of how we work, socialize, and fight disease for years to come.... Show More
“In this fight, where we are today—this is May of 2020—there's a lot of other companies and a lot of other approaches that are trying to generate vaccines. I wish them all success, and we all need to be successful here. I have only two competitors in this race: the virus and the clock.” If developing a COVID-19 vaccine were a race, Tal Zaks and Moderna Therapeutics won the first leg. It took them only 63 days from the time the virus was sequenced until they had a new vaccine in human clinical trials. So impressed was BARDA—the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority—that they awarded Moderna $483 million to begin producing the vaccine should it gain FDA approval. Their vaccine uses messenger RNA (mRNA) to ‘reprogram’ the kinds of proteins a cell expresses—a potential game-changer. “You can make a completely different kind of drug and a completely different kind of vaccine with it,” Zaks tells Mike. “And with that you can go after targets that traditional medicine has found really hard to target.”
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