BioConsortia Inc., the newly formed parent company of BioDiscovery New Zealand, has named Marcus Meadows-Smith as its chief executive officer. BioConsortia is a Davis-based agricultural biotechnology company that has invented a method for rapidly identifying microbes that cooperate to form consortia that significantly improve crop yields.
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 $500 million. He previously spent 14 years at Chemtura Corp., where he served as executive vice president in charge of a $1.9 billion portfolio of businesses including the crop protection, consumer products and plastic additives divisions.
Under Meadows-Smith’s leadership, AgraQuest added 50 jobs in Davis and the United States from 2008 to 2012, taking the company from financial distress to a valuation of nearly $500 million in four years. His new strategic direction of AgraQuest triggered the current interest, acquisitions and investment in biopesticides.
Meadows-Smith will lead BioConsortia through the business development and commercialization phase for the company’s “microbial consortia” products, which have been proven to improve plant productivity and enhance other desirable crop traits, according to a news release.
BioConsortia expects to create 15 jobs locally in the first year and further plans for expansion into the future.
“The greatest challenge we face in agriculture is how to sustainably produce more food per acre,” Meadows-Smith said. “I believe BioConsortia has all the right tools and technology to make a significant contribution to mainstream agriculture.”