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  • Press release
  • |
  • New York
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  • For immediate release
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  • 22 June 2022

The University of Pennsylvania mRNA NFT: 

Vaccines for a New Era


Features 3d Animation of mRNA Fighting Covid – Designed by Co-inventor of the mRNA Technology in Covid Vaccines – Proceeds to Support Ongoing Research

Online 15-25 July 2022

University Of Pennsylvania and Drew Weissman The University Of Pennsylvania mRNA NFT
Estimate On Request

NEW YORK – Christie’s is proud to present, “The University Of Pennsylvania mRNA NFT: Vaccines For A New Era.” This breathtaking 3d digital work takes the viewer to the molecular level, showing a cutting-edge mRNA vaccine fighting COVID-19. Christie’s New York will offer this NFT online 15-25 July, 2022 (estimate on request). This one-of-a-kind digital piece was designed by the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Drew Weissman, whose groundbreaking research helped create mRNA vaccines. The NFT comes with a storyboard that explains what the NFT depicts, the University of Pennsylvania-owned mRNA patent documents, and an original letter from Dr. Weissman, whose research produced key innovations that made mRNA vaccines safer and more effective. Proceeds from the auction will support ongoing research activities at the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Medicine.


MRNA vaccines are a new form of technology that has been science’s main tool to fight the COVID virus. Unlike traditional vaccines, which use a weakened or inactive germ to trigger an immune response, mRNA vaccines are designed to teach the body to create a protein that triggers the immune response. This one-of-a-kind NFT features a stunning one-minute 3D sequence that uses color, shape, movement, and sound to show mRNA encapsulated inside of lipid nanoparticles, administered via a vaccine, and working in the body to teach cells to create a protein to help the immune system to fight COVID.


Drew Weissman, M.D., Ph.D. Director of Vaccine Research at The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, said: “More than 15 years ago at Penn Medicine, my colleague Dr. Katalin Karikó and I found a way to modify mRNA to make it safe, effective, and practical for use as a vaccine against COVID-19. Now, we are working on using mRNA to treat or prevent flu, herpes, malaria, certain forms of cancer, and genetic disorders, including sickle cell anemia. I want to thank all who bid in this auction. Your support is essential to help us bring mRNA vaccines and therapeutics to the world.”


Peter Klarnet, Vice President, Senior Specialist in the Books and Manuscripts Department said: "We’ve all heard about mRNA vaccines on the news, now this amazing NFT gives us an unprecedented view of this technology in action. It’s been a privilege to work with the scientists at the University of Pennsylvania, who are doing the work that is saving millions of lives worldwide, and gratifying to know the proceeds from this sale will help Dr. Drew Weissman and his team harness this new kind of vaccine to fight a greater range of illnesses and alleviate even more suffering.”

About Christie’s

Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).

Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, 2017), for a 20th century artwork (Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, 2022) and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019). Christie's is also recognised as a reference for prestigious single owner collections, having auctioned 8 of the 10 most important collections in history.

Christie’s Private Sales offers a seamless service for buying and selling art, jewellery and watches outside of the auction calendar, working exclusively with Christie’s specialists at a client’s individual pace.

Recent innovations at Christie’s include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including use of hologram technology to tour life-size 3D objects around the world, and the the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats. 

Christie’s is dedicated to advancing responsible culture throughout its business and communities worldwide, including achieving sustainability through net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change.

Browse, bid, discover, and join us for the best of art and luxury at: www.christies.com or by downloading Christie’s apps. The COVID-related re-opening status of our global locations is available here.