Speaker Profile

Oversaw clinical development and global approval of the 2nd mRNA COVID-19 vaccine

M.D., Ph.D., Former Chief Medical Officer, Moderna Therapeutics

Serving as Chief Medical Officer for six years from 2015 through September 2021, Dr. Tal Zaks oversaw clinical development and regulatory affairs at Moderna. This includes the development and global authorization of one of the first two FDA-approved synthetic mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 that has helped billions around the world avoid the disease. Prior to joining Moderna, Dr. Zaks served as Senior Vice President and head of Global Oncology at Sanofi, where he was responsible for all aspects of oncology drug discovery, development and commercialization. Before that, Zaks held the role as Vice President of Clinical Research in Oncology at Cephalon. Dr. Zaks began his industry career at GlaxoSmithKline in the genetics research group, where he built the oncology translational medicine team and led translational research on lapatinib, a therapeutic against Her 2 positive breast cancer. In addition to his role in industry, Dr. Zaks is an Adjunct 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. Dr. Zaks has served on the Board of Directors of Adaptimmune Therapeutics since 2016 and in 2021 jointed the Board of Directors at Teva Pharmaceuticals in Israel. Dr. Zaks received his MD in 1994, his PhD in Tumor Immunology in 2000, both from Ben Gurion University in Israel. He conducted post-doctoral research at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. His clinical training in internal medicine was completed at Temple University Hospital followed by a fellowship in medical oncology at the University of Pennsylvania.