Former AgraQuest CEO to Guide the Commercialization of Ground-breaking Microbial Products for High Production Agriculture
Davis, California, USA and Auckland, New Zealand -- March 11, 2014 -- BioConsortia, Inc., the newly formed parent company of BioDiscovery New Zealand Limited, has named Marcus Meadows-Smith as its Chief Executive Officer. BioConsortia is an agricultural biotechnology company that has invented a method for rapidly identifying microbes that co-operate to form consortia that significantly improve crop yields.
Meadows-Smith will lead BioConsortia through the business development and commercialisation phase for the company’s ground-breaking “microbial consortia” products, which have been proven to improve plant productivity and enhance other desirable crop traits. Meadows-Smith joins BioConsortia after serving as CEO and leading the transformation of the biopesticide business for AgraQuest, Inc., which was subsequently sold to Bayer CropScience for nearly USD$500 million. He previously spent 14 years at Chemtura Corporation, where he served as Executive Vice President in charge of a USD$1.9 billion portfolio of businesses including the crop protection, consumer products, and plastic additives divisions.
“The greatest challenge we face in agriculture is how to sustainably produce more food per acre,” said Meadows-Smith. “I believe BioConsortia has all the right tools and technology to make a significant contribution to mainstream agriculture.”
BioConsortia is a microbial research company with a unique, proprietary R&D model. It uses the power of the plant microbiome and microbial consortia to deliver improvement in almost any plant phenotype. BioConsortia are developing products from microbes that are selected as consortia, rather than single or a mix/stack of microbes discovered through individual assays. The outcome is a powerful alternative to conventional microbial products. The technology employs the latest genomic techniques and is equally applicable to conventional and transgenic crops.
Preparing for the Next Phase
Khosla Ventures, a leading Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm, provided seed capital in 2011 to BioDiscovery New Zealand to refine their model for rapidly and effectively identifying beneficial microbial consortia. BioDiscovery elected to create the BioConsortia parent company to take the microbe biotechnology to global markets. BioConsortia headquarters, which will include a research and development facility, will be in the United States. Dr Peter Wigley, CEO of the BioDiscovery subsidiary, will continue to head up the New Zealand research & development organization.
“Marcus understands the potential of the technology developed by the BioDiscovery team and it is exciting to see such an accomplished executive join our team to build upon what has been achieved to date”, said Wigley. “We are very confident of his ability to lead the next phase of expansion and commercialisation.”
Andrew Chung, partner at Khosla Ventures and a director on the company’s board said “The team has made tremendous progress over the past two years, and we believe BioConsortia has the potential to be a transformative platform in agricultural biotechnology. We are extremely pleased that Marcus shares our vision and has chosen to bring his skill and experience to BioConsortia, since he has been so instrumental in bringing new, progressive approaches – like biologicals -- into high production agriculture.”
About BioConsortia, Inc.
BioConsortia, based in Davis, California, is an agricultural biotechnology company that uses a proprietary method for the selection of beneficial microbial consortia for crop improvement. The company has pipeline products and research projects for: enhanced utilization and substitution of N, P, K and S fertilizers; plant growth improvement including harvestable yield, root mass and accelerated development; other desirable crop traits such as abiotic tolerance, biotic resistance and enhanced metabolite expression. BioConsortia will partner with crop protection, seed and plant breeding companies to bring the benefits of microbial science and biotechnology to sustainable crop production.