Discussing the Origins of the mRNA Therapeutics Field (Part One)

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Andy Geall, co-founder and chief development officer at Replicate Bioscience, discusses the historical context and buildup of the mRNA therapeutics field.


Chris Spivey, editorial director for BioPharm International®, discussed messenger RNA (mRNA) advances and mRNA’s historical background with Andy Geall, co-founder and chief development officer at Replicate Bioscience, who also recently became inaugural chair of the board for the Alliance for mRNA Medicines (AMM). The interview was conducted at the 11th International mRNA Health Conference in Berlin, Germany, which was held Oct. 29– Nov. 2, 2023.

In this interview Geall discusses the origins of the buildup of an entire ecosystem for combining mRNA protein encoding medicines within lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) through initial funding provided jointly by the now prescient-looking Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and Novartis.Based on work that had its origins in 2008, Geall, while at Novartis, published a 2014 paper that began: “Nucleic acid-based vaccines are being developed as a means to combine the positive attributes of both live-attenuated and subunit vaccines. Viral vectors and plasmid DNA vaccines have been extensively evaluated in human clinical trials and have been shown to be safe and immunogenic, although none have been licensed for human use. More recently, mRNA-based vaccine alternatives have emerged and might offer certain advantages over their DNA-based counterparts” (1).


1. Deering, R.P.; Kommareddy, S.; Ulmer, J.B.; Brito, L.A.; Geall, A.J. Nucleic Acid Vaccines: Prospects for Non-Viral Delivery of mRNA Vaccines. Expert Opin Drug Deliv. 2014,11 (6), 885–899. DOI: 10.1517/17425247.2014.901308