The Danforth Plant Science Center aims to accelerate Agtech’s in-house innovation

The Donald Denford Center for Plant Sciencethe largest U.S. research institute and nonprofit crop organization, has set up a new company called Danforth Technology (DTC). The new venture aims to commercialize the Center’s research and technology by launching agtech startups from Danford’s own campus.

Key background:

How it works:

  • The DTC will connect its academics with investors, entrepreneurs, companies and technology leaders, providing intellectual property development, licensing and entrepreneurship. The company’s website says it will also work with early investors to “reduce technology and investment risks”.
  • Tom Laurita, co-founder and former CEO of the Danfort Crop Growing Company NewLeaf Symbioticswill serve as CEO of DTC.
  • DTC will create and fund startups in the early stages that operate in a variety of fields. Through email exchange with AFNLaurita said that In the center of Danforth there are 31 laboratories working “in a variety of” areas of crop production and agriculture. “The DTC will evaluate each opportunity created by the Danforth Center for its technological and commercial merits,” he added.
  • All startup funding will come from funds invested by the Danforth Center in the DTC.

Why it matters:

Government agencies, large corporations, and research institutes often turn to startups to attract more innovation to their organizations and gain access to more advanced tools and processes. Having a technology company that promotes entrepreneurial talent and funds startups can greatly assist the Danforth Center in bringing scientific discoveries and solutions faster from the lab to commercial markets.

Big picture:

The DTC, by bringing more agricultural technology startups to the Greater St. Louis area, could contribute to the region’s economy, which is already heavily supported by agriculture. A a study by the Missouri Department of Agriculture found that agriculture added $ 94 billion to the state’s economy in 2021 and accounts for one in every 10 jobs in the state.

  • Missouri has 95,000 farms, the second largest number any US state. But USDA report for 2021 warns that small farms, like many in Missouri, are in economic danger.
  • In his statement, Laurita called the DTC “a key factor in the growth of the St. Louis pharmacy ecosystem and the region’s economy.” To AFN he added that “DTC will speed up translation [of] researching solutions to real problems and creating new startups in STL ”.

What they say:

“Our mission at the heart of Danforth and the impact of our work means we need to bring our scientific advances and technology to market,” said Jim Carrington, President and CEO of the Danforth Center. “Creating a DTC will help accelerate the pace of agtech startups to deliver products and services that address significant agricultural challenges and needs.”

Innovative research and development of crop production is taking place in the center of Danforth, ”Laurita said in the same statement. “The DTC will create companies with primary funding and an IP from the Danford Center that will help transfer scientific discoveries from the lab to the real world.” The Danforth Plant Science Center aims to accelerate Agtech’s in-house innovation

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