Kernel Acquires KRS to Build Next-Generation Neural Interfaces

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Company adds Adam Marblestone as Chief Strategy Officer and Ed Boyden as Senior Scientific Advisor

Kernel

KRS’ innovations with neural interface technologies will help us in developing novel solutions for those suffering from debilitating neurodegenerative diseases and dysfunction,” said Bryan Johnson, Founder and CEO of Kernel.

Kernel, a human intelligence (HI) company, today announced that is has acquired Kendall Research Systems, LLC (KRS) clinical development program. KRS is a neurotechnology spin-out from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that develops neural interface technology for research and clinical applications. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

It addition to the acquisition, the company also announced that Adam Marblestone will join the company as its Chief Strategy Officer, and Ed Boyden as Senior Scientific Advisor.

“Christian is one of the most talented neuroengineers in the world. KRS’ innovations with neural interface technologies will help us in developing novel solutions for those suffering from debilitating neurodegenerative diseases and dysfunction,” said Bryan Johnson, Founder and CEO of Kernel. “Our acquisition of KRS’ clinical development program and team, in addition to adding Adam Marblestone and Ed Boyden to the team, further establishes Kernel in its unique position to systematically advance neuroscience. We’re also excited in that this acquisition facilitates access to partners and collaborators within the vibrant research communities in Cambridge and Boston.”

“Kernel will bring breakthroughs to the clinic faster and more safely than ever before by refactoring the traditional ‘design build test’ cycle of clinical products. We are freeing up the ability for engineers and neuroscientists to innovate. I’m excited we’re joining their team,” said Christian Wentz, founder and CEO, KRS. “Bryan Johnson is building an exceptionally qualified neuroscience and engineering team that can uniquely enable rich informational access to the human brain and change the game for understanding and improving the normal and pathological brain.”

Adam Marblestone is known in the neuroscience community for his published work and extensive collaborations aimed at accelerating progress in the field. As a student and postdoctoral researcher with George Church and Ed Boyden, he invented roadmaps for whole-brain mapping, helped initiate the fields of molecular recording and optical connectomics, designed optoelectronic neural recorders, patented an approach for molecular readout from the brain, authored papers on the integration of deep learning and neuroscience, and helped obtain tens of millions of dollars in research funding. At Kernel, Adam will draw on these broad perspectives to help accelerate human neuroscience.

“Adam Marblestone is a brilliant polymath. He is uniquely qualified to lead our efforts towards making key breakthroughs in acquiring more comprehensive neural data with less invasive approaches,” said Bryan Johnson.

“Kernel is working on one of the most important problems of our time,” said Marblestone. “Brain function still largely lacks coherent theoretical frameworks, but that could change rapidly with improved data. The future of our field is very promising.”

Ed Boyden is a professor of Biological Engineering and Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the MIT Media Lab and the MIT McGovern Institute. He leads the Synthetic Neurobiology Group, which develops tools for analyzing and repairing complex biological systems such as the brain, and applies them systematically to reveal ground truth principles of biological function as well as to repair these systems. These technologies, created often in interdisciplinary collaborations, include expansion microscopy, which enables complex biological systems to be imaged with nanoscale precision, optogenetic tools, which enable the activation and silencing of neural activity with light, and optical, nanofabricated, and robotic interfaces that enable recording and control of neural dynamics. Amongst other recognitions, he has received the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences (2016), the Carnegie Prize in Mind and Brain Sciences (2015), the Grete Lundbeck Brain Prize (2013) and the NIH Director's Pioneer Award (2013). He was also named to the World Economic Forum Young Scientist list (2013), the Technology Review World’s "Top 35 Innovators under Age 35" list (2006). Boyden received his Ph.D. in neurosciences from Stanford University as a Hertz Fellow, where he discovered that the molecular mechanisms used to store a memory are determined by the content to be learned. Before that, he received three degrees in electrical engineering, computer science, and physics from MIT.

“Ed Boyden is uniquely talented to help Kernel make the necessary breakthroughs in creating high bandwidth neural interfaces,” said Johnson.

"By pursuing a ground-truth, science-driven approach, we can achieve great neurotechnology design. In this way I hope to help Kernel achieve high-bandwidth neural interfaces that can speak the natural language of the brain,” said Ed Boyden, Senior Scientific Advisor at Kernel.

With the new acquisition and hires, Kernel plans to accelerate its ambitious but practical near-term vision: to develop a data-driven platform for rapid discovery of treatments to intractable neural diseases. To date, efforts to advance neurology have been narrow in focus without systematic, data-driven iteration, improvement and extension. Kernel is developing a robust interface to power a platform that can be rapidly iterated and applied to several domains.

To learn more about Kernel, or to learn more about open positions, visit http://kernel.co/.

About Kernel:

Kernel is building advanced neural interfaces to treat disease and dysfunction, illuminate the mechanisms of intelligence, and extend cognition. We are on a mission to dramatically increase our quality of life as healthy lifespans extend.

Join Kernel in Los Angeles and Boston. Learn more at kernel.co.

About Kendall Research Systems:

Kendall Research Systems, LLC (KRS) develops electrical and optogenetics based neural interfaces for research and clinical applications. KRS is located in the heart of the biotech hub of Cambridge, MA. kendallresearchsys.com

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John Robert Reed
Jones-Dilworth, Inc.
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