Noubar Afeyan The Lebanese Behind Moderna Vaccine – Noubar Afeyan is the Lebanese chairman of Moderna Therapeutics, a company whose COVID-19 vaccine has shown a 94% effectiveness in advanced stages of research. Noubar Afeyan, American-Lebanese entrepreneur, venture capitalist, inventor, technologist, and CEO was born to Lebanese-Armenian parents in Lebanon. He’s a third-generation immigrant to Lebanon as his grandfather fled the Armenian genocide and came to Lebanon in the early 1900s.
Noubar grew up in Beirut, until reaching the age of 13 when his family moved to Montreal, Canada in 1976. The entrepreneur attended McGill University and graduated with a BS in Chemical Engineering in 1983.Noubar was accepted to a Ph.D. program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), at the time the only school with an advanced program in biochemical engineering.
After earning his Ph.D. in 1987 at the age of 24, Afeyan started his first company. “I was naïve to think I could start a company with so little experience,” he told Forbes in an interview.
However, it worked out. For 10 years, Noubar Afeyan headed PerSeptive Biosystems, which became the number two company in the bio-instrumentation field before it was acquired by Perkin Elmer/Applera Corporation in 1998.
In 1999, Afeyan founded Flagship Ventures, which develops new companies through its in-house division “VentureLabs” and also invests in startups.
Afeyan overseas VentureLabs as Senior Managing Partner and CEO of Flagship Ventures. The company has a unique approach in that it conducts its own research and forms new companies after the research has started to bear fruit. Using this approach, Flagship Ventures and VentureLabs have launched dozens of startup companies, primarily in the life sciences and sustainability industry.