Volume 10 - August 2013
St. Louis Showcases Agricultural Innovation
On September 9th through 11th, the Danforth Plant Science Center will play host to the fifth annual Ag Innovation Showcase, the leading global event for agriculture’s industry leaders. The showcase will feature pioneering entrepreneurs with revolutionary technology solutions to the industry’s immediate challenges.
“With technology driven solutions recognized as critical to the way forward for the industry, the Ag Innovation Showcase has evolved into the premier innovation event that provides a platform for dialogue and deal-flow centered around solutions of the future” said Sam Fiorello, COO Donald Danforth Plant Science Center & President of BRDG Park.
Past Showcases have seen huge gains for emerging startups. Ninety-five percent of presenters found potential partners. The cohort of past presenters subsequently raised more than $96 million in funding. IN addition, two presenters were acquired by corporate strategics in attendance at the event.
Danforth Center Announces $45 Million Expansion
A cornerstone of St. Louis’ agricultural bioscience community, the Danforth Plant Science Center, announced in July a major $45 million expansion of its research facilities, adding capacity for 100 additional researchers.
The current building houses 227 employees in nearly 170,000 square feet of lab, office, and greenhouse space. “But science does change, and what we demand out of the space changes with the science,” according to Jim Carrington, the center’s president. The addition will enable researchers to work within a nontraditional lab environment that accommodates advances in robotics, bioinformatics, and group approaches to research.
The addition will not only improve the Center’s capacity for high-level science in crop improvement, bioenergy, sustainable agriculture, and plant biology, but will also have a huge impact on the St. Louis bioscience community as a whole. “The expansion will have follow-on effects,” Carrington said. “Our scientists collaborate with startup companies, many of which are recruited to this area because of the center. Some of those companies will spin out of the labs here at the center. All of that will accelerate with this expansion. With increased numbers of principal investigators, you’re going to see in the future more spin-outs, more products, more companies attracted to the region.”
The Danforth Center's Impact
Benson Hill Establishes a New Home in St. Louis
St. Louis’ leadership in agtech has convinced another startup to plant its roots in St. Louis. Benson Hill Biosystems is expanding its operations to St. Louis from Research Triangle Park, North Carolina following a $175,000 investment from the Missouri Technology Corporation in addition to investment from the BioGenerator and the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership through its Helix Fund.
Boosting crop yields on existing acreage and with diminishing agricultural resources is the foremost challenge in sustainable production agriculture. Benson Hill is developing solutions to substantially increase crop yield potential.
“The team at Benson Hill is world-class and the company’s existing research and industry partnerships position it well for growth,” said Dan Broderick, Vice President of Capital Formation and Entrepreneurship at BioSTL. “Benson Hill’s expansion in St. Louis will enable the company to take advantage of the region’s unique collection of ag bioscience assets – including preeminent research facilities and talent, startup support, and networks to agtech investors.”
News About the Biosciences in St. Louis
- Medical Device Company Medibeacon Primed for Growth and Commercial Success at One-Year Anniversary [MediBeacon]
- BioGenerator Adds 4 Industry Experts to Entrepreneur in Residence Program [BioSpace]
- Researchers Hope To Inspire New Generation Of Plant Scientists [St. Louis Public Radio]
- From inhalable insulin to vaccines: 5 diabetes companies to watch [Pepex Biomedical in MedCity News]
- Mallinckrodt receives priority review for first drug as independent [St. Louis Business Journal]
- American Journey: The Mosaic Project [CNN – Anderson360]
- Electrochaea commissions power-to-gas demonstration facility in Denmark [Power-Technology]
- Capturing Carbon: the role of biocatalysts and biofuels [Akermin in Biofeuls Digest]
- Incoming medical students take the plunge [Washington University]
- Double Manufacturing Deals for Sanofi [Gallus Pharmaceuticals in Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News]
News From BioSTL
September 5 - Kick-Off Event - Entrepreneurship in the Academic Community - BioEntrepreneurship Core of Washington University
September 19 – University of Missouri Tech Expo 2013
September 25-27 - 15th Annual Fall Symposium: Imaging and Robotics - Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
September 26 - Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Event – Missouri Cures
October 1 – NIH/NCI SBIR Opportunities Workshop – BioSTL/BioGenerator
October 9-10 - NIH-focused SBIR/STTR Proposal Preparation Seminar - BioSTL
Increase Your Chance for SBIR Awards
BioSTL and the BioGenerator are hosting a workshop with Dr. Todd Haim from the National Cancer Institute's SBIR Development Center on October 1st. Dr. Haim will be promoting NCI's new contract topics. This event continues BioSTL & BioGenerator ‘s commitment to supporting startups that are seeking SBIR funds. This workshop will be followed by another NIH-focused SBIR proposal preparation seminar with expert Lisa Kurek on October 9 through 10.
BioSTL Welcomes New Team Member!
Daniel "Danny" Johnson joined the BioSTL team on August 15. We're so excited to have him on board!