Moderna Therapeutics
Key Areas
Corporate Storytelling
Mechanism of Action Illustrations
Mechanism of Disease Illustrations
S-1 and 10k Submission Visualizations
Figures for Publication and Cover Submissions
Presentation Support
2D Animation
3D Modeling
IR/PR Communication Strategies
White Paper Support

An evolving approach to a versatile vision

The Challenge

Moderna Therapeutics has been at the forefront of messenger RNA (mRNA) research and its potential to re-engineer mRNA to be a versatile therapy for anything from rare diseases to cancer.
As a private biotechnology company, Moderna initially focused on several patent filings, quiet clinical trials, and publications that indicated its intent, but provided little detail on its technology. As Moderna’s treatment platform expanded, it gathered interest and scrutiny alike. At the time, Moderna sought to quell uncertainty about its platform and strengthen its scientific credibility with potential investors and media outlets.

When Moderna went public on December 6, 2018, it became the biotech industry’s largest initial public offering (IPO) to date.1 This brought a heightened level of inquiry and attention to the company and its platform technology. This scrutiny furthered Moderna’s visual communication needs, to relay to the industry and its partners the potential, speed, and scalability of their technology.

The Outcome

Cognition worked with Moderna on multiple communication fronts to visualize their story and show why it matters to a variety of audiences. Cognition was able to advance Moderna’s messaging with a wide range of storytelling solutions to address a wide variety of communication needs. The solutions include custom, scientifically credible mechanism of action (MOA) and mechanism of disease (MOD) illustrations, 3D visualizations, patient-friendly animations, and numerous supporting graphics and designs for publications, presentations, and media use.



Communicating new and emerging science is often a unique and multifaceted challenge. Cognition understands that it is usually not enough to explain the science, one must convince the audience why it is worth knowing about in the first place. Strategic storytelling can bridge understanding, energize engagement, drive credibility, and strengthen a company’s presence.

Cognition’s role in supporting Moderna’s efforts began in Q3’16 with a series of MOA illustrations intended for use in several presentations on the many disease candidates Moderna was targeting. Matching Moderna’s flexible platform, Cognition created an agile visual approach that balanced scientific accuracy with an audience-appropriate level of detail. This strategy allowed Cognition to craft clean, informative, and consistent visuals tailored to each presentation and need.


The idea of mRNA as a drug is simple: if mRNA naturally directs a cell to make proteins, an injected synthetic mRNA could help a patient make their own protein therapeutic that is specific to their need. Moderna is harnessing this power for a number of modalities that can have widespread potential. Cognition has helped Moderna explain their capabilities through a wide variety of visuals and design that have been used for investor relation presentations, internal corporate communications, and outward-facing editorial visualizations.

Over the years, Cognition has supported Moderna on multiple investor relation and conference presentations, R&D Day and Science Day presentations, journal paper figure and cover submissions, website and social media images, corporate infographic and white paper designs, S-1 and 10k submission visualizations, a patient-specific animation and print collateral for their personalized cancer vaccine clinical trial, and even custom visuals for a TEDx Talk.


“Thank you one hundred fold over! All the presentations were exceptional and the visuals could not have been better! It was a true pleasure to work with you, and I look forward to many future joint projects.”

—Melissa J. Moore, Ph.D. Chief Scientific Officer | Moderna Therapeutics

In early 2020, Moderna became one of the biotechs working to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. By leveraging their past insights and research into mRNA therapies for other viruses, Moderna was able to go from sequence selection of the viral antigen to first human vaccine dosing, in a total of 63 days.2With the rapidly changing landscape of the global health emergency and the unique challenges of life during a pandemic, Cognition was able to relay Moderna’s accelerated research and development timeline for a vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus on a variety of communication fronts, including custom MOA illustrations, presentation support, an animation overview of the development and mechanism of the potential vaccine, and visualizations supporting the emergency use for Moderna’s vaccine against COVID-19 in the U.S.


From stealthy biotech startup to clinical-stage, publicly-traded biotech pioneer, Cognition has had the honor of being a thought partner in Moderna’s transformation.

Cognition believes that innovative scientific technologies deserve unique visual stories. By supporting and evolving with our clients, we ultimately bring them closer to transforming the way life-saving therapies are developed and delivered to patients in need.


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