Former FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn joins venture capital group behind Moderna

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Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn is joining Flagship Pioneering, the venture capital firm that launched Moderna, as chief medical officer to lead its preemptive medicine and health security initiative. 

Hahn served as the FDA chief during the Trump administration from 2019 to 2021, and oversaw COVID and non-COVID regulatory affairs, including therapeutics and vaccine development, devices, diagnostics and clinical trials. 

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Hahn, in December, oversaw the FDA’s emergency use authorization of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. 

Flagship Pioneering CEO and founder Noubar Afeyan, in announcing Hahn’s role, said the pandemic "brought into stark focus how important it is to bring increased attention and investment to our health security globally, and to preemptive medicine more broadly." 

FILE – In this Friday, April 24, 2020, file photo, Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, speaks about the new coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, in Washington, as Vice President Mike

"We are delighted that Flagship will benefit from Steve’s clinical and administrative leadership in helping us dimension and pursue our growing number of explorations and companies in this emerging field," Afeyan said. 

Hahn, a radiation oncologist, said Monday that, in his career, he has "been a doctor and a researcher foremost and it is an honor to join Flagship Pioneering in its efforts to prioritize innovation." 

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"The importance of investing in innovation and preemptive medicine has never been more heightened," Hahn said. "The more we can embrace a ‘what if…’ approach, the better we can support and protect the health and well-being of people here in the U.S. and around the world." 

Flagship and Moderna are headquartered near each other in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and according to the Washington Post, continue to share ties – Afeyan serves as the chairman of Moderna; while Stéphane Bancel, Moderna’s CEO, serves as a Flagship special partner. 

The Post reported that Flagship also holds 20 million shares of Moderna stock, which are valued currently at more than $4 billion after soaring during the pandemic. 

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There are no federal rules that prohibit Hahn from taking the role, which he is set to begin Wednesday, with Flagship. Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb joined the board of Pfizer in 2019. 

The Post reported that Hahn would be limited in communicating with the FDA. He has a lifetime ban on discussing particular matters he worked on, and a one-year ban on communicating with the FDA about any matters on behalf of Flagship. 

Meanwhile, Flagship, on Monday, announced it raised more than $2 billion ahead of the launch of its new preemptive medicine and health security division, which is expected to work to prevent the onset of cancers as well as future pandemic threats. 

Hahn, before joining the Trump administration, served as chief medical executive at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Before that, he served as head of the radiation oncology department at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. 

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