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CEO, Kernal Biologics
United States
Dr. Yusuf Erkul is cofounder and CEO of Kernal Bio. With expertise in nucleic acid therapies, innate immunity and cancer biology, Dr. Erkul led Kernal's early efforts in drug discovery and development in immuno-oncology, which culminated in recognition from Amgen, NASA/CASIS, MassChallenge, MassConnect, and Y Combinator. Under his leadership, Kernal Bio, an mRNA 2.0 company, has raised more than $26M from leading investors. Before co-founding Kernal, Dr. Erkul was a Director in Sentegen’s R&D division. Previously, he worked in Merck’s oncology department, where his group provided exploratory pharmacology and biomarker support for various siRNA and small molecule therapeutic programs, including a PARP inhibitor (MK-4827), which later received FDA approval for ovarian cancer (niraparib, ZEJULA®). His group also established and validated state-of-the-art preclinical models, which helped the company develop the largest immuno-oncology pipeline. Earlier in his career he carried out cancer research at MIT Center for Cancer Research, which later became Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School. Yusuf received his M.D. from Hacettepe University in Turkey, and his B.S. in Biology from MIT. In addition, he holds an Executive MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management.

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