BioConsortia Inc., an agricultural biotech form that raised $15 million in venture capital earlier this year, has opened its headquarters and research-and-development laboratory space in Davis. BioConsortia uses microbes to improve plant traits and increase crop yields.
The 5,700-square-foot office is at 1940 Research Park Drive.
With research going on at UC Davis and several crop protection and biotech firms established in the area, Davis has become a major hub for agricultural and microbial technology.
BioConsortia’s new labs were specifically designed and constructed to meet the company’s needs, containing microbiology and molecular biology labs, growth chambers and resources for genomic analysis. The new facilities also serve as the company’s corporate headquarters.
The company’s subsidiary, BioDiscovery New Zealand, will continue to conduct complementary research at its facilities in Auckland.
BioConsortia has expanded its executive team to include Christina Huben as senior vice president for operations and administration and Susan Turner as senior vice president for research and development.
Huben has 20-plus of business and legal experience, having worked at the New York law firm Breed Abbott & Morgan, followed by senior roles at EnviroSource, Chemtura Corporation, AgraQuest and Bayer CropScience.
Most notably, she was a driving force on the leadership team at AgraQuest, instrumental in delivering many of the collaboration agreements and helping lead the transformation of the biopesticide industry, culminating in the company’s acquisition by Bayer CropScience in August 2012.
Turner comes to BioConsortia from her job as principal scientist at BioDiscovery. She has more than 20 years of research experience in the field of applied microbiology, beginning her research career in academia at the University of Auckland, where she earned a Ph.D. in biological sciences.
She was one of the founding scientists of a biotech startup, ZyGEM Corp., and published widely in the field of applied microbiology and microbial ecology.
“Our technology has been proven in lab and field trials in New Zealand,” Turner said. “I am looking forward to spearheading research in the new facilities and accelerating the development of our products for the U.S. and global markets.
“With the surrounding companies and research interest, Davis is an ideal location for our operations. The coming months and years will bring exciting progress.”
BioConsortia has a pipeline of seed treatment and soil-delivered products to improve key traits for soybean, corn, wheat and rice, as well as fruit and vegetable crops. These will all be pursued from the new labs.
BioConsortia will partner with leading companies in fertilizer, seed/traits and crop protection industries, and also will conduct field trials with independent contractors, universities, distributors and growers across the United States.