Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) announced that it has signed a research and licensing agreement with Moderna Therapeutics to discover and develop messenger Ribonucleic Acid (mRNA) Therapeutics for the treatment of cystic fibrosis (CF). The three-year partnership will focus on the use of mRNA therapies to treat the underlying cause of CF by enabling cells in the lungs to produce functional copies of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein which is defective in CF sufferers. The companies will explore the potential for pulmonary delivery of the therapy. Discovery efforts will be led by Moderna. Meanwhile, Vertex will lead preclinical and clinical development and commercialization, including funding all costs associated with the collaboration. According to the terms of the agreement, Moderna will receive $20M in cash upfront, up to $275M in milestones and tiered royalties on net sales. In addition, Vertex will make a $20M investment in Moderna in the form of convertible debt.