Moderna CMO To Leave Amid COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

Sarah HallamPeople on the Move

Moderna says they expect to produce up to 700 million COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of 2021. Editorial credit: Lutsenko_Oleksandr /

Moderna Chief Medical Officer Tal Zaks is stepping down in September, after six years with the company. Moderna quietly announced his departure in its Q4 financials report released on Feb. 25. The biotech firm has swiftly switched gears to a commercial operation in the past few months as it ramps up its COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

Zaks’ departure also comes shortly after the company announced its expectations to produce at least 700 million COVID-19 vaccine doses this year, and over $18.4 billion in sales. Moderna said they have retained the management consulting firm Russell Reynolds to “recruit for a new CMO with global and commercial experience.”

As CMO, Zaks oversees all clinical development and regulatory affairs at the company. Before working at Moderna, Zaks was SVP and Head of Global Oncology at Sonafi, a French pharmaceutical company, where he was responsible for all aspects of oncology drug discovery, development, and commercialization.

"I would like to thank Tal for his tremendous impact on Moderna’s success over the last six years. Tal joined us when we were a pre-clinical company. His guidance and contributions were important in helping Moderna get to where we are today," Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said. "Through his leadership over the past year in Moderna’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tal has made a contribution that extends beyond Moderna to all of society. I have enjoyed having him as my partner and wish him all the best as he embarks on the next leg of his career."

Zaks has not publicly announced where his next move will be.


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