Find out more about the panel and register for Ag Innovation Showcase
When a group of St. Louisans visited Israel in 2014 to build ties with that country’s entrepreneurs, they expected to wait years for the effort to bear fruit.
Instead, it took five days. Kaiima, an Israeli agricultural technology startup, had raised $100 million in venture capital and was looking to establish a U.S. presence. After meeting the BioSTL delegation and doing some followup research, it decided to open an office in St. Louis.
Read the full article on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch website
Israel is quietly becoming a world center of genome research and genetic technology, especially in the area of plants. Many of the Israeli companies in this area are looking to another center of genome research: St. Louis, Missouri, home of several institutions and companies – among them Monsanto – that specialize in gene-based “plant engineering,” in which genomes are manipulated to develop hardier, more nutritious, and more tasty versions of familiar grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Read the full article at Times of Israel
NRGene is an ag tech company based in Israel that will soon have a presence in St. Louis.
“Settling in St. Louis is actually a pretty easy decision,” said Paul Chomet, who will head up the office here.
He said that’s because NRGene, which uses big data analytics to identify genetic traits and improve crops, has dealt with ag companies and scientists in St. Louis previously. That includes the world-renowned Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.
Read the full article at St. Louis Public Radio
An Israeli genomics company has chosen St. Louis for the location of its U.S. headquarters.
NRGene, which develops tools that use big data to identify genetic traits to improve crop yield and disease resistance, will open at the CIC@CET building in the Cortex innovation district in Midtown, officials with BioSTL said Friday. The local office will have a staff of six led by Paul Chomet.
Read the full article at the St. Louis Business Journal
Israeli tech company NRGene plans to open an office in the Cortex innovation district that will serve as its U.S. base of operations.
The analytics company develops computational tools and algorithmic models for trait discovery used by seed companies, animal breeders, and academia.
Read the full article at St. Louis Post-Dispatch
GlobalSTL, the initiative of BioSTL focused on attracting high-growth international companies to St. Louis, announced that Israeli genomics company NRGene has selected St. Louis as the location of its U.S. headquarters. NRGene is the fourth company to move to St. Louis through the GlobalSTL initiative.
NRGene develops advanced computational tools leveraging big data to identify genetic traits to improve yield, environmental tolerance, and disease resistance. It was the first to successfully assemble the whole genome sequence for wheat, one of the most complex plant or animal genomes, five times larger than the human genome, and has assembled more than 80 genomes in less than a year.
“Missouri as the ‘heartland’ of American agriculture is the natural U.S. home for NRGene,” says Gil Ronen, CEO of NRGene. “Our strong partnership with the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center brought us to St. Louis, and GlobalSTL convinced us to stay.”
The recruitment of NRGene is another example of GlobalSTL’s focus on prospects that match St. Louis’ strengths and is a step forward in creating international recognition for St. Louis as a preferred location for innovation-driven businesses. “With each successful recruitment, we are building a cluster of world-class agritech companies that bring with them technology and talent that enrich the St. Louis ecosystem,” said Donn Rubin, President and CEO of BioSTL, which launched the GlobalSTL initiative in 2014. NRGene is another exciting and highly-respected Israeli company that follows GlobalSTL’s prior recruitment of Kaiima Agro-Biotech, Evogene, and Forrest Innovations.
The GlobalSTL team first encountered NRGene in Israel in April 2015 on a trip that brought together representatives from Monsanto, KWS, and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. NRGene connections with Danforth Center scientists influenced NRGene’s decision to consider St. Louis as its North America base. Since the initial meeting, GlobalSTL has hosted NRGene in St. Louis, introducing them to potential local corporate partners and customers, St. Louis’ innovation districts, and to state agencies to aid in relocation incentives.
Capping off the recruitment process, Gov. Jay Nixon and legislative leaders were able to personally reinforce the message of Missouri’s commitment to NRGene’s success during a trade mission to Israel last month.
“NRGene’s decision to locate its U.S. headquarters in St. Louis is another big win for the region and a testament to our commitment to competing worldwide for jobs and investment,” said Gov. Jay Nixon.
The Missouri Partnership facilitated NRGene’s access to state incentives.
NRGene will establish its initial St. Louis location with six employees and headed by Paul Chomet, Ph.D., at CIC@CET in the Cortex district.
GlobalSTL, an initiative of BioSTL, recruits high-growth international companies to locate their North American base of operations and R&D in the St. Louis region. By connecting St. Louis with the most dynamic innovation ecosystems worldwide, starting with Israel in 2014, GlobalSTL enriches St. Louis’ innovation community with technology, talent and high-growth companies from abroad. The initiative targets companies with technology in areas that match St. Louis’ own strengths – such as agritech, healthcare, cyber security, initiative leverages the capabilities of existing St. Louis corporations, investors, universities, and organizations.
BioSTL advances St. Louis’ economic vitality by cultivating a strong bioscience and innovation ecosystem. BioSTL organizes business, university, and philanthropic leaders around a set of deliberate strategies that capitalize on St. Louis’ strengths in medical and plant sciences. Focus areas include: building and investing in startups through our venture development arm, BioGenerator; improving access to investment capital; ensuring appropriate physical infrastructure; promoting science- and innovation-friendly public policy; fostering a more inclusive entrepreneurial talent pool in the region; attracting the U.S. presence of international companies; and raising global awareness of St. Louis’ strengths. Please visit www.biostl.org for additional information. Follow BioSTL on twitter @BioSTL.
NRGene is a genomic big data company developing cutting-edge software and algorithms to reveal the complexity and diversity of crop plants, animals, and aquatic organisms for the most advanced, sophisticated breeding. NRGene tools have already been employed by some of the leading seed companies as well the most influential teams in academia. NRGene is located in Ness Ziona, Israel. www.nrgene.com
The battle against the Zika virus, which can cause birth defects and paralysis, has been taken to the source.
The deadliest creatures on Earth — mosquitoes — kill 725,000 people every year by passing on malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever and other diseases. Now the insects are blamed for spreading Zika, infecting 3 million to 4 million people across Latin America in the last year.
Conventional mosquito control efforts involve spraying pesticides where the insects breed. But mosquitoes have developed resistance to many pesticides, and the spray means other helpful bugs die. The World Health Organization says that traditional pesticides have had no significant impact on slowing other mosquito-borne diseases.
A St. Louis startup biotech company says it has another solution. Forrest Innovations of Creve Coeur plans to breed and release sterile mosquitoes to prevent reproduction and eventually reduce their population. Their first target: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which has seen the world’s largest Zika outbreaks and will host the upcoming Summer Olympics.
How BioSTL’s team is building a relationship with Israel’s startups to grow St. Louis’ ecosystem.
GlobalSTL had been on Donn Rubin’s mind for awhile. As president and CEO of BioSTL, an organization created in 2001 to advance St. Louis’ bioscience and innovation cachet by creating infrastructure and providing access to capital, Rubin was always looking to build up the city.
It was a trip outside of St. Louis, though, that spurred Rubin to think even bigger.
During a 2008 visit to Cleveland to meet with BioEnterprise—a business formation, recruitment and acceleration initiative similar to BioSTL—he learned the organization had recruited a long list of Israeli companies who chose to make Cleveland the home of their US operations. Rubin then noticed that Maryland, Atlanta and Pittsburgh also had initiatives set up to attract Israeli companies.
“I realized that St. Louis was missing an opportunity not having an initiative like this, built on our city’s assets,” says Rubin.
BioSTL, the St. Louis organization advancing regional prosperity by cultivating the bioscience and innovation ecosystem, announced that Israeli agtech company Forrest Innovations has selected St. Louis as the location of its U.S. headquarters. The company’s decision represents the third success in seven months for BioSTL’s initiative targeting Israeli companies for recruitment.
Forrest Innovations is an agtech company working at the forefront of technology to address two major challenges in the outdoor environment: reducing mosquito-carried disease and overcoming a bacteria that is threatening the citrus industry’s existence.
“St. Louis is renowned for its leadership in plant science and top notch scientific personnel, offering us a wonderful opportunity for recruiting highly qualified employees. St. Louis also provides a great platform for promoting innovation and collaboration. We are very happy to become the latest members of this promising community,” said Nitzan Paldi, CEO of Forrest Innovations.
Israel, frequently referred to as the “Startup Nation,” is one of the largest sources of commercially-promising innovation in the world, particularly in agritech, medical technologies, and cyber-security – areas that match nicely with St. Louis’ strengths. BioSTL’s St. Louis-Israel Innovation Connection (SLIIC) initiative capitalizes on the fundamental business need of many Israeli ventures to establish a U.S. presence to access markets, capital, networks and corporate partnerships.
“Although we anticipated the strengths of our St. Louis ecosystem would resonate with Israeli companies, the pace of success has exceeded all expectations,” said Donn Rubin, president and CEO of BioSTL. “It’s not surprising that our early momentum has been in agtech, an area where St. Louis shines, with remarkable corporate and research partners, talent and specialized facilities.”
Prior to Forrest Innovations’ decision, Kaiima Bio-Agritech (November) and Evogene (February) each announced establishment of their U.S. base in St. Louis.
Building on the momentum, a delegation from St. Louis, including representatives from BioSTL, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, KWS, Monsanto, Missouri Partnership and St. Louis Regional Chamber visited Israel last month to amplify St. Louis’ story and increase awareness of the region as a preferred relocation site.
BioSTL’s SLIIC team identifies and screens prospective target companies and strategically matches these Israeli companies with St. Louis resources, including potential corporate and institutional partners, investors, and scientific and business expertise that can lead to establishing a company presence in St. Louis.
SLIIC takes a collaborative approach to leverage a wide array of assets in St. Louis’ innovation ecosystem and provide the region a competitive advantage by offering value to prospective relocation candidates. Forrest Innovations will locate at BRDG Park, a Wexford Science + Technology development on the campus of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center focused on plant and life science companies. The Missouri Partnership facilitated Forrest Innovations’ state incentives.
“This latest success says a lot about the shared vision and clear purpose with which we approach economic development,” said Mike Downing, director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development. “By leveraging our strengths and harnessing the combined resources of the state and local communities, we’re seeing a burgeoning bioscience industry here in St. Louis.”
“This economic development win is a testament to the region’s ability to attract new and exciting bioscience companies, and we are excited to welcome them to St. Louis” said St. Louis Regional Chamber President & CEO Joe Reagan.
To see the full scope of involvement in BioSTL’s SLIIC by regional partners, visit our infographic depicting the collaborative nature of the initiative.
BioSTL advances St. Louis’ economic vitality by cultivating a strong bioscience and innovation ecosystem. BioSTL organizes business, university, and philanthropic leaders around a set of deliberate strategies that capitalize on St. Louis’ strengths in medical and plant sciences. Focus areas include: building and investing in startups through our venture development arm, BioGenerator; improving access to investment capital; ensuring appropriate physical infrastructure; promoting science- and innovation-friendly public policy; fostering a more inclusive entrepreneurial talent pool in the region; attracting the U.S. presence of international companies; and communicating St. Louis’ strengths. Please visit www.biostl.org for additional information. Follow BioSTL on twitter @BioSTL.
About Forrest Innovations
Forrest Innovations is headquartered in Israel, with additional state-of-the-art facilities in Brazil and in California. Forrest leverages its “Nature-treats-Nature™” platform to develop exciting novel green solutions and initially addresses two major outdoor challenges facing humanity: 1) To dramatically reduce the burden of disease vectoring mosquitoes, which debilitate millions of people around the world and kill more children than any other cause. 2) To save the Citrus industry from a devastating bacterial disease (‘Citrus Greening’) that is wreaking havoc in the major citrus producing geographies of the world and which is literally demolishing the orange juice industry of Florida.