You've probably heard about Elizabeth Holmes by now, the eccentric CEO of the scandalized medical company Theranos. Once a Venus flytrap for Silicon Valley investors and now the subject of an FBI criminal investigation, Theranos claimed to have developed revolutionary blood-testing technology -- claims that turned out to be total bullshit.
Holmes' spectacular fall from grace has rocked the medical community, raising alarm about other similar companies that have amassed incredible wealth and power, but kept their research under a veil of absolute secrecy. Take Moderna Therapeutics, for example, a six-year-old biotech firm based in Cambridge, MA that was the recent subject of a superb investigative piece by Stat News. The company has attracted a staggering amount of investors' money, boasting a radical new way to treat illnesses by manipulating human cells to fight diseases from within.
The technology sounds promising, but like Theranos, Moderna's ultra-secretive policies prohibit them from publishing any substantial data to prove their work, nor do they disclose information to investors. The Stat piece also reveals eye-opening similarities between Holmes and Moderna's CEO, Stéphane Bancel. The story is really worth a read, but here are some highlights that got me wondering if Moderna could be the next Theranos.