'Disruptor' Moderna: Human drug trials within 18 months

After named No. 1 on CNBC's Disruptor 50 list, Moderna Therapeutics CEO Stephane Bancel said Tuesday his start-up could begin clinical human trials of its cutting edge drug technology within 12 to 18 months.

Bancel said his company is trying to help the human body make its own proteins to fight diseases by injecting cells with messenger RNA (mRNA). This contrasts with the traditional method of manufacturing proteins in labs and then giving them to patients in the form of drugs.

"Nobody has done a mRNA drug and put that into a clinic trial, so we have to be very careful because we need to develop the technology [at] the same time as we push drugs forward," he said in an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Alley."

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"The ability to combine different antibodies to go after cancer to activate your immune system is very exciting to us," Bancel said. If successful, the method could be used to fight cancer and some infectious diseases.

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CNBC's annual Disruptor 50 companies ranks start-ups that are revolutionizing business and are raising over $1 billion along the way. Moderna has raised more money in a single fundraising round than any biotech company in history, at half a billion dollars.

Asked about when the company may go public, he said: "We want to focus on the science and products, and we will go out when the company is sitting on solid ground."