Vernal Biosciences Announces an Additional $20 Million in Funding to Expand mRNA and LNP Manufacturing
Vernal Biosciences, an innovative mRNA and LNP Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (“CDMO”) announced the completion of a $20MM funding round, led by Ampersand Capital Partners and Charles River Labs with participation from Dynamk Capital and the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies.
The company will use the funding to complete its first state of the art Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP) manufacturing facility, scheduled to be online July 2023, and support expanded manufacturing and capabilities in support of Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) manufacturing, the main regulatory standard for ensuring pharmaceutical quality
“We are on a mission to democratize mRNA R&D by making high purity mRNA and lipid nanoparticle (“LNP”) formulated mRNA readily available to more therapeutic innovators and biopharma leaders,” said CEO and Founder Christian Cobaugh. “This funding helps us make our vision a reality. In addition to expanding the capabilities of our research and preclinical business, we are wrapping up cGMP manufacturing readiness for our first site, which includes our process and analytical development capabilities to complement our platform technologies. The funding will also allow us to accelerate our second site, to begin next year, to support larger scale cGMP manufacturing for commercial mRNA drug products.”
Vernal offers full service manufacturing ranging from cell banking, plasmid DNA and the resulting mRNA, to formulations into a variety of lipid chemistries. Similar to their Research Use Only (RUO) operations, the GMP business leverages platform process and analytical technologies to rapidly manufacture high purity mRNA and LNP-formulated mRNA.
David Anderson, General Partner with Ampersand Capital added, “Ampersand is excited to continue our partnership with Christian and the Vernal team to support the Company’s ongoing transformation into a full-service CDMO in the mRNA end-market. Our recent experiences building advanced therapy CDMOs such as BrammerBio, ArrantaBio and Vibalogics, position Ampersand as an excellent partner for Vernal at this stage in the company’s growth.”
This funding comes on the heels of May 2022’s round of financing totalling $21MM, including investment from Vernal’s partner Alloy Therapeutics. There have been several other recent milestones in the company’s rapid growth. Vernal has scaled their workforce to 65 employees over the past year, added dozens of new customers, and a 20x increase in scale.