BioGenerator, a St. Louis based, privately funded, non-profit investment organization whose express focus is on startups and entrepreneurs in the AgTech sector, has made a $200,000 seed investment in Apse, the company announced March 3. This round of funding also saw investment in Apse from Missouri Technology Corporation, the Helix Fund and other private investors.
Apse specializes in developing technology for the manufacturing of RNA (ribonucleic acid) for broad acre RNAi use in agriculture. According to the company, this new investment will help Apse in simultaneously advancing its technologies while developing strategic relationships with large agricultural companies.
“Apse has developed unique technology that will allow for more cost-effective, non-GMO crop traits, and safer herbicides and insecticides than what is currently available. As the original investor in Apse when it was founded, BioGenerator believes there is tremendous potential for the company’s technology,” said Dan Broderick, vice president for BioGenerator.
With the news comes the naming of John Killmer, PHD, as president and CEO of Apse. The former President of Monsanto China has over three decades of experience in the AgTech sector.
“I am excited to join a promising young company that has made great progress developing its technology,” said Killmer. “Spray on traits, highly specific and safer insecticides, and other applications of exogenous RNA appear to have a tremendously exciting future in agriculture.”
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On the Apse board of directors Killmer joins John McAlister, PhD, former CEO of Tripos; David Smoller, PhD, former CSO of Sigma-Aldrich; Juan Arhancet, PhD, former Monsanto Research Fellow and the founder of Apse; Nathan Lakey, CEO of Orion Genomics; and Pete Seggelko, former VP at Dow AgroSciences, along with Dan Broderick and Charlie Bolten of BioGenerator.
The latest investment brings the total amount invested by BioGenerator to $410,000. In addition to that, BioGenerator Labs calls Apse a client and has provided wet labs and offices at no cost to the company, in order to provide what BioGenerator calls an ‘innovation environment.’
All of this is taking place in St. Louis, a city that has seen a big rise in AgTech investment during the last year alone. Monsanto, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, KWS, and Kaiima all chose the city for their U.S. headquarters, not to mention an ever-increasing pool of startups that call this home.