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Kernal Biologics Raises $25 Million to Advance its mRNA 2.0 Technology for Oncology

The new capital will extend Kernal’s mRNA 2.0 platform and support the filing of an IND for Kernal’s immuno-oncology candidate KR-335.

Kernal Biologics, Inc. (Kernal Bio) — a development-stage mRNA-technology company developing cancer therapeutics designed to improve patients’ survival rate and quality of life — today announced the completion of a $25 million Series A financing led by Hummingbird Ventures. Amgen Ventures, HBM Genomics and Civilization Ventures along with other VCs, family offices and high net worth individuals also participated in the round.

The new capital will extend Kernal’s mRNA 2.0 platform and support the filing of an IND for Kernal’s immuno-oncology candidate KR-335. In connection with the financing, Firat Ileri, Managing Partner of Hummingbird Ventures joins the board.

“We have closely followed the work of the Kernal Bio team over the past few years and we are excited to see them bring their mRNA technology to fruition in an area of medicine with high unmet medical need,” said Firat Ileri, Managing Partner of Hummingbird Ventures.

“Kernal Bio is building on the success stories of Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech with legacy mRNA technologies. We are delighted to partner with them to bring this innovative approach to cancer patients.”

“There’s a major unmet need to improve outcomes for cancer patients and Kernal Bio has built a strong rational for the use of its novel mRNA technology in cancer therapeutics,” said Kernal Bio Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Yusuf Erkul, M.D. “This financing further validates that rational. Our breakthrough onco-selective mRNA approach can enable specific protein expression in malignant cells, widening the therapeutic window of mRNAs in oncology.”

Additionally, Manfred Kraus Ph.D., who was previously the Scientific Senior Director at the Tumor Microenvironment Thematic Research Center at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), joins the company as Vice President of Research and Development. Before BMS, Dr. Kraus was a Director at Pfizer’s Oncology Research Unit where he led the in vivo pharmacology teams supporting the oncology portfolio from new target identification to clinical proof of concept. Previously, he worked in the oncology departments at Astra-Zeneca, Merck & Co., and Serono.

Dr. Kraus earned his Ph.D. in immunology with Dr. Klaus Rajewsky at the University of Cologne in Germany, followed by post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical School investigating the role of B cell receptor signaling in mature B lymphocytes. His scientific accomplishments include the discovery of the tonic BCR-mediated survival signal in mature B cells. Dr. Kraus pushed our understanding of the role of ITAM and non-ITAM phosphorylation in the CD79a/b signaling subunit of the B cell receptor plus advanced and mentored technical innovation such as conditional gene-targeting, reversible RNAi in mice and multi-parametric flow cytometry. He is an author on 27 peer-reviewed articles and an inventor on four patents.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Kraus join Kernal as he brings extensive drug development experience in oncology which will help us to expand our mRNA 2.0 platform and advance our lead program. Dr. Kraus will oversee the expansion of our R&D team as well as the advancement of our therapeutic programs into the clinic,” said Burak Yilmaz, M.S., Co-founder and President of Kernal Bio.

At Kernal Bio, we aim to harness the power of our mRNA technology to provide cancer patients with treatments that give them the best chance of beating their disease — while eliminating as many common side effects as possible. Our unique inside-out approach attacks diseases like cancer at the cellular level. Our proprietary mRNA technology is engineered to move in stealth, undetected by the immune system, and encrypted to home in on cancer cells, making it distinctively onco-selective. Thus, we maximize the potential to improve patient outcomes compared to existing synthetic mRNA. Beyond our work in cancer therapeutics, we also license a portion of our technology to global pharma and biotech companies for non-oncology applications, which helps further and fund our internal development programs. Please visit our new website at and on social media: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

About the mRNA 2.0 Platform

Kernal Bio established a machine learning-backed computational pipeline to analyze transcriptome and translatome datasets across cell types and disease state to discover cell-specific mRNA sequence features. These features are then deployed during synthetic mRNA design to enable cell-specific therapeutic mRNAs. The first therapeutic products of the mRNA 2.0 platform, including KR-335, initially focus on immuno-oncology.

]About Hummingbird Ventures

Hummingbird Ventures is a global early-stage venture capital fund with over $500M in assets under management, with a focus on investing in exceptional founders. Hummingbird works best with outsiders who challenge industry boundaries and conventions, transforming tiny miracles into impactful companies.

Often as the first institutional investor, Hummingbird Ventures have helped start-ups scale from zero to category-defining multi-billion-dollar businesses across three continents, including Kraken, Deliveroo, Peak, and more. More information is available at

About Amgen Ventures

Since 2004 as Amgen’s Corporate Ventures Fund, Amgen Ventures has invested in emerging companies and technologies to advance promising new medicines and solutions to healthcare’s biggest challenges. Further information about Amgen Ventures at:

SOURCE Kernal Biologics


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