Vernal Biosciences (“Vernal”, or the “Company”), based in Burlington, VT, is a rapidly growing manufacturer of high purity mRNA, LNP-mRNA, and provider of associated services such as process development and quality control methods. Vernal’s quality-by-design driven platform technologies across the entire value chain of mRNA medicines will provide projects with a de-risked, advanced staging ground for research and clinical supply. Our on-demand, high-purity supply, and services provides clients with the flexibility to perform proper drug discovery and development without risking the buildout of costly teams and facilities. To support the significant growth in mRNA clinical programs, Vernal is building out a GMP facility at the current headquarters in Burlington, VT, which will contain one production suite, a QC lab, and other additional lab and office space. In addition, the Company is in the planning phases for a larger GMP manufacturing facility that is expected to come online in late 2024. Vernal was founded in 2021 and operates out of ~23,000 sq. ft. facility with ~60 full-time employees.
Vernal Biosciences is expanding its Executive Management Group and is seeking an accomplished, entrepreneurial, high-energy Chief Financial Officer (CFO), preferably one with experience at privately held companies in the life science industry with a focus on custom manufacturing. This team builder and motivator needs to be adept at balancing a strategic approach with tactical “hands-on” activities in a rapidly growing production and commercialization environment. In light of Vernal’s growth strategy, the CFO will help build a scalable, dynamic organization that continues to deliver the highest quality products and services to its customers.
In this vital role, the CFO will oversee financial operations, be responsible for planning, forecasting, analysis, modeling and reporting of the overall financial vision of the company. The CFO will help develop the company’s business practices and controls by leading budgeting, accounting, tax compliance/audit assistance, payroll, and HR functions. The CFO will also drive negotiations with suppliers, lead a growing finance function, and ensure the company utilizes its resources efficiently and complies with all applicable financial regulations. Most importantly, the CFO will serve as a key business partner of the CEO and resource for the entire leadership team driving strategic business decisions.
Location of Position: Burlington, VT
Reporting Relationship: This position reports to the CEO
- Key leadership role responsible for accounting, finance and partnering with the business to ensure financial controls are in place, risks and opportunities are identified and to support strategic decision making with a robust forecast process, modeling, and analysis.
- Own, organize, and have a hands-on approach to the company’s financial controls, reporting functions, and annual audit. Maintain and continuously improve financial accounting and cost accounting processes and assure ongoing compliance with corporate regulations and those of other financial regulatory bodies wherever the company operates. Responsible for all federal, state, and statutory tax compliance.
- Oversee accounting functions for monthly close such as accounts payable, customer invoicing, revenue recognition, project cost accounting, inventory, payroll, benefit management, bank reconciliations, accruals, and capital expenditures. Develop policies and procedures with tight internal controls. Produce accurate and timely financial statements and analysis.
- Drive the annual budgeting and long-term financial planning functions. Assist in the creation of a strategic financial plan, including methods to increase revenue and reduce costs. Develop financial analysis, and reports to drive strategic business decisions. Manage and track performance versus budget.
- Develop and execute company financing strategy, while developing and maintaining strong investor and lender relationships
- Strategic Business Partner to all functions. Generate analysis, financial modeling, risk assessment, key performance indicators, and insights for the company / industry. Collaborate with Operations as well as Commercial to evaluate the pipeline, potential opportunities, pricing and profitability, project risks, and changes in assumptions and business drivers.
- Develop tools and processes to support GMP project finances, breakeven analysis, capacity and resource planning, S&OP, and project pricing and profitability.
- With several growth / investment initiatives underway, the CFO will own the capital budgeting function and will ensure these efforts are and continue to be funded, budgeted, analyzed, and measured properly in a financial context.
- Maintain the liquidity position of the company by managing cash and short-term investments in accordance with an approved investment policy. Establish and maintain a reliable cash flow forecasting mechanism.
- Build and supervise a finance team aligned with the company’s needs.
- Support the procurement function, especially for major contracts, to ensure the company’s needs are fulfilled while delivering savings and pricing leverage from negotiation.
- Participate in monthly Board of Directors calls and meetings providing updates on the business performance, opportunities, and potential risks to allow the Board to provide proper guidance and decision making.
- Leverage financial systems and tools such as SAP and Excel to streamline processes and gain business insights. Drive automation of processes to ensure future scalability.
- Operate with the highest standards of ethics, transparency, financial integrity, and regulatory compliance.
Education and Experience
- Bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, business administration, or related field; MBA, CPA preferred.
- 8+ years of progressive executive-level financial experience. Demonstrated experience as a CFO, or as a senior financial leader (i.e., VP of Finance or similar) within a larger organization.
- Experience working with private equity-backed, middle-market companies a plus.
- Prior financial leadership experience in an enterprise that owns and operates manufacturing assets, preferred. Demonstrated history of financial modeling with business partner mindset; experience with manufacturing and supply chain operations in the biotech / pharmaceutical industry preferred.
- Proficiency with ERP (SAP or equivalent), cloud planning solutions, and other relevant operational applications within the biotech / pharmaceutical industry.
- A track record of effective partnership with other functions, such as sales, marketing, and operations (manufacturing, supply chain).
Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities
- Results-driven personality
- Strong interpersonal and leadership skills, openness to the views of others
- Strong executive presence and senior executive collaboration
- Excellent analytical skills, advanced Excel modeling skills, proficiency with PowerPoint
- Strong knowledge of US GAAP
- Exceptional time management and ability to problem solve under pressure
- Strong oral and written communication skills
- Collaborative leader with ability to influence people at all levels of the organization and make actionable recommendations and follow through on execution
At Vernal, you will offer knowledge-based solutions to help us address the growing demand for mRNA, lipid nanoparticle (LNP) mRNA, drug screening, and ultimately clinical supply of mRNA. Together, we will create the most integrated solution for mRNA medicines R&D. Vernal will become the only one-stop-shop for our clients’ and partners’ mRNA needs, from concept all the way to clinical trials. As a startup, we are seeking adaptable, creative thinkers who can independently foresee gaps and opportunities and who take the initiative to solve problems with a sense of urgency. We expect the work to be rewarding, fast-paced, and to offer ample opportunities to plan and create new solutions to help grow our business. Vernal will pay a competitive salary with generous benefits including health, dental, and vision insurance. Although hiring level will depend on experience, we expect to grow with our employees and are interested in a variety of backgrounds.
Vernal Biosciences is located in Colchester, Vermont, adjacent to Burlington which is home of the University of Vermont and the UVM Medical Center. Check out https://www.helloburlingtonvt.com/ for more information. The Burlington area, set on the shores of Lake Champlain, features the best of two worlds:
- Multicultural hub with great schools, restaurants, breweries, shopping, arts, and an affordable cost of living
- Gateway to the Green Mountains including world class hiking, camping, bicycling, and alpine and nordic skiing
Please contact [email protected] with CVs or for more information