Bringing a crazy idea to life—Building a foundation for innovation with Office 365  

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Today’s post about Office 365 was written by Stéphane Bancel, chief executive officer at Moderna Therapeutics.

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We started Moderna back in 2010 based on a crazy idea that we could use messenger RNA (mRNA) as a therapeutic platform to treat and cure diseases: something never before attempted in the pharmaceutical industry. Since day one, our mantra has been speed, flexibility, and scalability as we rush to build internal development teams and an ecosystem of global collaborative partnerships that foster innovation. That’s because our mRNA Therapeutics technology platform has the potential to help the body fight and cure diseases that are currently untreatable. So when we choose technology, we look for solutions that help us to collaborate quickly and advance the science. That’s why we run almost exclusively on cloud technologies and why we use Microsoft Office 365 as our business productivity platform.

As a biotech company, we’re using Office 365 to accelerate everything we do at Moderna: going from having no employees, no capital, no office, and no labs three years ago to partnering with AstraZeneca and Alexion, and founding an oncology-focused drug development subsidiary called Onkaido Therapeutics. It is amazing how quickly we are setting up these partnerships, establishing new email addresses and collaborative team sites in SharePoint Online within the same Office 365 tenant in just a few days. And because it’s going to be several years to revenue, on a financial level, every minute counts to reduce the time-to-market.

I’m a big believer that speed is also a competitive advantage. In the Moderna ecosystem, everyone uses Office 365 tools to communicate and collaborate at the scale and speed we want. It only takes a few seconds, and we are up and running with a federated Lync Online video conferencing environment that we use to share content and desktops while brainstorming with a business partner in Europe or our informaticians and software engineers 10 time zones away. And because our Office 365 environment is integrated with Microsoft Azure for multifactor authentication, our scientists are sharing critical information without worrying about data security. We know where our data is housed in Microsoft servers with all the security and reliability that Microsoft contributes, so we’re not worrying about losing information or service interruptions.

All over the world, groups of like-minded scientists in the Moderna ecosystem use Office 365 tools to connect with each other as they work on mRNA design and manufacturing processes, innovating new chemistries, new formulations, new therapeutic applications, new protein and antibody targets, and new dosing paradigms. These scientists are not thinking about the technology behind the email, the instant messaging, the video conferencing, and the team sites they use to collaborate. They are not thinking about whether they’ll be able to access their Word documents at the airport, or whether their Excel spreadsheets will display properly on their iPad. It all just works.

I love the mobility and the flexibility that I get working with Office 365 ProPlus in conjunction with the online storage that we have with OneDrive for Business. Now I use the latest version of Office on my laptop, iPhone, and iPad to access my files anywhere, so I’m always connected to my content and I’m always productive. If I’m sitting in an office in Switzerland and I want to show a potential investor a PowerPoint presentation, I quickly access the file from the cloud through my phone’s hotspot. Using leading-edge technology to support our leading-edge science reinforces the Moderna brand and is good for business. And the more ventures we can forge with the companies and scientists we need to collaborate with to make our vision a reality, the faster we can offer hope to patients who have none. It’s an exciting prospect made possible by brilliant ideas, hard work, and underneath it all, technology like Office 365.

Watch this video to learn more about how Moderna uses Office 365:

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