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Controversial Startup Moderna Just Filed for the Biggest Biotech IPO Ever

Moderna Therapeutics just filed for what would be the biggest biotech IPO in U.S. history.

Moderna, which would list as MRNA under the NASDAQ, is looking to raise a staggering $500 million in a public offering. The biotech unicorn has already built a mammoth early valuation of more than $7 billion in private money (raising more than $2.6 billion) despite having no products on the market or much in the way of clinical data to back up its hype.

The latter fact has earned the company sustained criticism from outlets such as STAT News.

Moderna’s IPO offering would be facilitated by Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase.

The biotech startup is developing so-called mRNA (messenger RNA) therapies that could potentially, the firm hopes, turn the body’s very cells into drug making machines.

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Here’s how Moderna described its approach in its S-1 Securities & Exchange Commission filing:

mRNA transfers the instructions stored in DNA to make the proteins required in every living cell. Our approach is to use mRNA medicines to instruct a patient’s own cells to produce proteins that could prevent, treat, or cure disease.

In short, it describes this approach as “the software of life.”