Vernal Biosciences Launches to Democratize Access to High Quality mRNA Manufacturing
Seed Financing Will Scale Company’s Technology and Business Operations to Serve Clients of All Stages
BURLINGTON, Vt.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Vernal Biosciences, Inc., a manufacturer of high purity mRNA for research and clinical use, today announced the closing of a seed round of financing. Alloy Therapeutics led the round and was joined by the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies and individual angel investors. The proceeds of the financing will be used to scale Vernal’s technical development and commercial operations in the Burlington, VT region.
Vernal is focused on achieving and maintaining high purity throughout the scaling of all mRNA manufacturing processes for clients in the research and ultimately clinical stages. The company was founded by CEO Christian Cobaugh, who previously held mRNA process and manufacturing leadership roles at Omega Therapeutics, Translate Bio, Arcturus Therapeutics, and Alexion Pharmaceuticals, where he was the first researcher in the Alexion-Moderna partnership. He brings a deep understanding of the mRNA manufacturing value-chain—including mRNA design and specifications, regulatory expectations, and quality product profiles—to improve Vernal clients’ odds of success through a highly adaptable and well-characterized manufacturing process.
“We are inspired to realize the potential of mRNA, a validated and revolutionary medicines modality, through democratizing access to unparalleled mRNA manufacturing technologies,” said Christian Cobaugh, founder and CEO of Vernal. “The associated knowledge, technology, and talent has long been cloistered within select mRNA therapeutics companies. It is critical to remove barriers to mRNA manufacturing technologies for the benefit of patients and investors seeking novel use cases of mRNA. Equal access to high purity mRNA manufacturing will encourage growth in innovation, competition, and collaboration, accelerating the clinical impact of mRNA as a foundational therapeutic modality.”
Through collaborative research and partnerships, Vernal is developing innovative process and analytical technologies to overcome the challenges of manufacturing high purity mRNA. The company’s universal platform, which emphasizes Quality-by-Design and documented process characterization, will accelerate client projects and simplify regulatory interactions. Vernal is fine-tuning this platform so that clients do not “hurry up and wait” for clinical manufacturing processes to start from scratch—enabling clients to focus on other high-value operations such as target biology, drug discovery, and clinical development. Vernal’s mRNA solutions will scale with client needs, regardless of discovery or clinical stage or use case.
Already engaging with clients on research and preclinical projects, Vernal’s seed financing will be used to scale its technology and business to add the GMP clinical manufacturing capability operations for ongoing and future client discovery projects. As part of the Series Seed financing, Errik Anderson, CEO and founder of Alloy Therapeutics, will join Vernal’s Board of Directors. Pat Sacco, longtime biotech technical operations and manufacturing executive (senior vice president of technical operations at both Translate Bio and Shire plc/TKT), will also be joining Vernal as a board advisor. While at Shire, Pat’s teams supported development, manufacturing, and commercialization of REPLAGAL®, ELAPRASE®, and VPRIV®.
“Backing Vernal’s vision for mRNA manufacturing is fully aligned with Alloy’s ecosystem approach and our commitment to reinvest 100% of Alloy’s revenues back into innovation and access to innovation,” said Anderson. “Collaboration and democratization of foundational drug discovery capabilities are critical in ensuring our industry delivers on its promise to get the best drugs to patients faster. Alloy is thrilled to support Christian and the Vernal team in their mission to bring high quality mRNA to innovative companies and projects of all sizes.”
Vermont Seed Capital Fund Manager David Bradbury added, “We are thrilled to welcome mRNA veteran Christian Cobaugh and the Vernal team into Vermont and support the launch of this high potential new life sciences company.”
About Vernal Biosciences
Vernal Biosciences is an mRNA manufacturing company that provides high purity mRNA, from concept to clinical trials, on a transactional basis. By reducing barriers to research and clinical mRNA manufacturing, Vernal enables great ideas, present and future, for mRNA. The company is experienced at overcoming the bottlenecks involved in mRNA-based R&D with reliable, high-purity manufacturing, and an approach rooted in a quality-first culture and deep regulatory experience. Vernal currently offers manufacturing-research-use mRNA and is scaling its manufacturing process that will become an advanced staging ground for clinical manufacturing projects. Its Founder and CEO, Christian Cobaugh, is a veteran of the mRNA industry, leading drug discovery projects as the first Alexion Pharmaceuticals researcher in the Alexion-Moderna partnership, then leading the entire mRNA program (internal pipeline, Ultragenyx partnership) at Arcturus Therapeutics, and heading mRNA drug discovery and process development at Translate Bio. Founded in 2021, Vernal is located in Colchester, VT, blending its proximity to nearby biotechnology hubs with a rich talent pool, like-minded investors, and a sought-after lifestyle. Learn more at www.vernal.bio, and follow for updates on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
About Alloy Therapeutics
Alloy Therapeutics is a biotechnology ecosystem company empowering the global scientific community to make better medicines together. Through a community of partners, Alloy democratizes access to tools, technologies, services, and company creation capabilities that are foundational for discovering and developing therapeutic biologics. The company facilitates affordable, non-exclusive access to the entire drug discovery community from academic scientists, small and medium biotech, to the largest biopharma. Alloy’s lead offering, the ATX-Gx™ platform, is a human therapeutic antibody discovery platform consisting of a growing suite of proprietary transgenic mice strains. Founded in 2017 and privately funded by visionary investors, Alloy is headquartered in Boston, MA with European labs in Cambridge, UK. As a reflection of Alloy’s relentless commitment to the scientific community, Alloy reinvests 100% of its revenue in innovation and access to innovation.
About Vermont Seed Capital Fund, LP
Since 2010, the Vermont Seed Capital Fund, LP has invested in early stage, high potential businesses from an evergreen seed capital venture fund. The Fund is managed by the non-profit Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET) which operates coworking facilities and provides expert business advisory services.