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In 2020, Moderna made history by setting a new timeline record for developing a vaccine against COVID-19. Since then, CEO Stéphane Bancel has forged a controversial and sometimes contradictory path for the Cambridge, Mass.–based company. Bancel, a skilled fundraiser, has turned Moderna from a small biotech into a major player in efforts to vaccinate against infectious diseases. Under his guidance, Moderna is setting new standards with its mRNA Access program, in which the company’s scientists will share their knowledge, expertise, and licenses with teams in lower-resource countries. The aim is to develop mRNA vaccines targeting 15 diseases that pose the biggest public-health risks, including HIV and malaria. Moderna is also the first vaccine maker to waive its patent on the COVID-19 shot in countries receiving shots through a World Health Organization program. At the same time, Bancel is fighting for certain patent rights from the company’s collaborators at the National Institutes of Health over the COVID-19 vaccine, in an effort to retain as much of the anticipated $21 billion in sales from that shot this year.

Park is a TIME senior correspondent

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