Tal Zaks Joins Strategic Advisory Board at Deep Genomics

October 26, 2021

Former Moderna CMO and COVID-19 vaccine lead brings experience building hugely successful mRNA therapeutics company to Deep Genomics. 

TORONTO AND CAMBRIDGE, MA, October 26, 2021. Deep Genomics, the leading AI therapeutics company, welcomes Tal Zaks, M.D., Ph.D., to its Strategic Advisory Board, effective today. Deep Genomics uses AI and machine learning to program and prioritize transformational nucleotide-based therapeutics for genetic diseases.

As Chief Medical Officer at Moderna, Zaks successfully led a team that pioneered the field of mRNA therapeutics and drove extraordinary growth, with more than two dozen preclinical and clinical programs advanced during his tenure, including Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.

“Tal’s experience and capabilities are exceptionally well-matched to our mission to build a world leading programmable medicines company,” says Brendan Frey, Ph.D., FRSC, Founder and CEO of Deep Genomics. “Our unique AI Workbench combines world-class expertise in AI and RNA biology and enables the discovery of novel targets and therapies that cannot be found using the traditional approach to drug discovery.”

Deep Genomics has validated the proficiency of its AI Workbench by advancing a lead cohort of ten programs into preclinical research and expects to nominate twenty more in the next three years. 

“By applying its innovative AI platform to create oligonucleotides as ‘programmable medicines,’ Deep Genomics has demonstrated remarkable productivity in advancing a broad pipeline of preclinical programs,” says Zaks. “AI and deep learning are clearly becoming substantial differentiators in the biotech industry, and I expect that many if not most of tomorrow’s successful drug discoveries will be powered by AI. I’m excited to work with Deep Genomics as it leads us into that future.”

Having recently closed a $180 million Series-C funding round, Deep Genomics is rapidly expanding its preclinical pipeline by leveraging its AI Workbench for ‘programmable medicines’ to target thirty AI-discovered programs by 2024. Other highlights include:

  • Advancing four AI-discovered programs to the clinic while further growing clinical development capabilities

  • Expanding the AI Workbench from rare, monogenic conditions to more complex, common diseases

  • Generating a large-scale set of opportunities by evaluating one hundred genes to identify novel targets, mechanisms, and preclinical programs that could not be found without AI

  • Hiring more than one hundred highly specialized professionals in Toronto and Cambridge, MA to support these growth targets, including AI researchers, bioinformaticians, software engineers, geneticists, biologists, and clinical and nonclinical drug development experts

“The talent we are amassing across the organization from the bench to the leadership to our strategic and scientific advisory boards is providing us with the expertise and experience to fully exploit the broad application of our AI Workbench,” says Frey. The strategic advisory board of Deep Genomics includes Jennifer Cook of BridgeBio, Denali Therapeutics and Jazz Pharmaceuticals, and Steve Jurvetson of SpaceX and Tesla. Tal’s unique mRNA company-building expertise is highly complementary to our team.”

About Tal Zaks, M.D., Ph.D.

Tal Zaks is Strategic Advisor at Deep Genomics, with a focus on growing the company to take advantage of the many targets, mechanisms and molecules generated by their ‘programmable medicines’ platform. Tal also serves on the Board of Directors of Adaptimmune Therapeutics and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.

As Chief Medical Officer at Moderna, Zaks successfully led a team that pioneered the clinical applications of mRNA vaccines and therapeutics with more than two dozen preclinical and clinical programs advanced during his tenure, including Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Prior to his time at Moderna, Tal was Senior Vice President and Head of Global Oncology at Sanofi, where he was responsible for all aspects of oncology drug discovery, development, and commercialization. He began his industry career at GlaxoSmithKline in the genetics research group, where he built the oncology translational medicine team and led translational research on TYKERBⓇ. In addition to his industry work, he is Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and has served as a volunteer physician at the Philadelphia Veterans Administration Medical Center, treating patients with genitourinary cancers.

Tal received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the Ben Gurion University in Israel and conducted post-doctoral research at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. He completed his clinical training in internal medicine at Temple University Hospital, followed by a fellowship in medical oncology at the University of Pennsylvania.

About Deep Genomics

Deep Genomics combines artificial intelligence (AI) and RNA biology to program and prioritize transformational AI-enabled therapies for almost any gene in any genetic condition. The proprietary platform, called the AI Workbench, allows Deep Genomics to decode vast amounts of data on RNA biology, identify novel targets for genetic diseases, and produce therapeutic programs with a high success rate. Almost everyone will suffer from a genetic condition at some point in their life, and Deep Genomics aims to be there for them with a genetically precise therapy. Deep Genomics is located in Toronto, Ontario, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.deepgenomics.com and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.