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Infographic – Steady Growth for mRNA Trials

Messenger RNA clinical trials

Click on image for full-size view (CB Insights)

13 May 2021. Thanks to the first two vaccines authorized by FDA for Covid-19, messenger RNA is now a household phrase. But to those following biotechnology, the pandemic has demonstrated mRNA’s recognized potential for vaccines and treatments that induce an immune response.

Messenger RNA is a nucleic acid based on the genetic code from DNA, and used by cells to produce amino acids in proteins for cellular functions. The technology research company CB Insights issued a report last month on messenger RNA, including a chart showing the number of clinical trials of mRNA pharmaceuticals each year since 2005. The data, from the U.S. government’s registry at, shows in 2020 and 2019, mRNA trials approached 200 each year, but since 2014 the number of trials each year already exceeded 150.

The main uses for messenger RNA are vaccines and treatments for infectious diseases, as well as cancer immunotherapies. Science & Enterprise first reported on messenger RNA in April 2012, including our first story about Moderna in December 2012, on the company’s first venture funding round. But biotech companies are finding even more ways to use mRNA. In January we reported on Turn Biotechnologies in Mountain View, California licensing research from Stanford University on messenger RNA to produce proteins that rejuvenate cells damaged by aging.

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