Kansas City-based agtech startup expands to St. Louis in a bid to enable more scientific breakthroughs

TechAccel—a Kansas City-based technology and equity company investing in scientific breakthroughs to produce healthier plants, animals and foods—today announced its completion of a lease agreement for office and lab space at the Bio Research Development & Growth (BRDG) Park on the campus of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis.  The new, larger…

Image courtesy TechAccel
Image courtesy TechAccel

TechAccel—a Kansas City-based technology and equity company investing in scientific breakthroughs to produce healthier plants, animals and foods—today announced its completion of a lease agreement for office and lab space at the Bio Research Development & Growth (BRDG) Park on the campus of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis. 

The new, larger space will provide TechAccel’s growing science team with more room for operations, including space for its subsidiary, RNAissance Ag LLC. (RNAissance Ag is a play on the words “renaissance” and “ribonucleic acid.”)

RNAissance Ag, which last year acquired St. Louis-based startup RNAgri, is leveraging its RNA manufacturing platform by developing RNA interference (RNAi) applications in biopesticides, animal health and aquaculture. RNAi is a biological process involving the expression of genes in plants and animals.

Photo courtesy TechAccel

The new space at BRDG Park includes 2,000 square feet of lab space, including facilities for its fermenters and manufacturing equipment, and 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.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“The BRDG Park location is ideal for our growing team of scientists,” said Brad Fabbri, Ph.D., chief science officer for 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. 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.

“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, Ph.D., TechAccel’s Chief Finance and Administrative Officer. “It’s the right spot for creative collaboration and innovation.”

TechAccel already has strong ties to the St. Louis agriculture ecosystem. TechAccel’s 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.

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