A Kansas City-based tech and equity company investing in scientific breakthroughs to produce healthier plants, animals and foods is tapping into abundant lab space at the other end of I-70, announcing Monday new offices in St. Louis.
“It’s only fitting that we locate our team in the heart of the nation’s largest concentration of plant science researchers and ag-biotech innovators,” said Tina Youngblood, chief finance and administrative officer for TechAccel, describing the facilities at the Bio Research Development & Growth (BRDG) Park on the campus of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. “It’s the right spot for creative collaboration and innovation.”
TechAccel splits its workforce nearly evenly between Kansas City and St. Louis, having first opened offices in the eastern Missouri city in 2017.
TechAccel was founded in 2014 as a first-of-its-kind technology and venture development company in the agriculture and animal health sectors. TechAccel sources, invests in and acquires early-stage innovations.
Through collaborations with universities and research institutions, TechAccel conducts advancement and de-risking research and development to ready technologies for commercialization.
Click here to learn more about TechAccel’s top-tier team, board and investors.
The new space provides TechAccel’s growing science team with room for operations, including room for its subsidiary, RNAissance Ag LLC. RNAissance Ag, which last year acquired St. Louis-based startup RNAgri, is leveraging its proprietary and inexpensive RNA manufacturing platform by developing RNAi applications in biopesticides, animal health and aquaculture.
The BRDG Park site includes 2,000 square feet of lab space, including facilities for the company’s fermenters and manufacturing equipment, as well as offices.
The TechAccel and RNAissance Ag science team also has access to the St. Louis Community College biotechnology lab and equipment resources located at BRDG, as well as the world class Plant Growth Facility and other technology resources at the adjacent Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.
“The BRDG Park location is ideal for our growing team of scientists,” said Brad Fabbri, chief science officer at TechAccel. “This gives us room to grow and we are excited by the opportunities for collaboration with other biotechnology innovators as part of the vibrant 39 North Agriculture Biotech Innovation District.”
TechAccel has established equity relationships with several 39 North companies, including Benson Hill and Plastomics Inc., and has collaborated with other ag biotech startups in the ecosystem, according to the company. RNAissance Ag holds the exclusive license to proprietary insecticidal and ecologically friendly RNAi technology developed at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center that has promise to be effective for insect pests that previously were considered resistant to RNAi.
“RNAissance Ag is a great example of exactly what we are striving to accomplish; partnering basic research from the Center with collaborators like TechAccel to create sustainable agriculture solutions,” said Stephanie Regagnon, executive director of innovation partnerships at the Danforth Center. “This strengthens the entire 39N ecosystem.”
TechAccel is currently hiring research associates, a senior RNAi biologist, and a senior entomologist.
The company already has strong ties to the St. Louis agriculture ecosystem. The team was formerly housed in the Danforth Center, and the two entities have a strategic relationship through TechAccel’s Path to Commercialization grant program. This program funds research, like the RNAi platform technology, with a goal of commercializing agricultural innovations from the laboratory into the marketplace.
In addition to the collaboration program with the Danforth Center, the company has invested in other agtech firms and supports the AgInnovation Showcase and InvestMidwest, among other regional programs.
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.