Elemental Enzymes Inc. – St. Louis (Where are they now?)
We first profiled Elemental Enzymes in 2011, shortly after the husband and wife team of Drs. Brian and Katie Thompson founded the firm. Elemental Enzymes develops customized enzymes for common environmental contaminants and other, non-environmental applications.
The couple worked closely with Paul Bateson, technology development and commercialization specialist with the Missouri Small Business and Technology Development Centers, a BDP program, and staff of the Missouri Innovation Center, a tech incubator on the MU campus. Assistance included helping them to become better educated about markets and investors, connecting the couple to useful resources and potential clients and submitting federal SBIR grant applications for additional startup capital.
The company has since outgrown its Missouri Innovation Center space and moved into St. Louis County (it maintains a presence at the incubator). They have grown from the couple to 15 employees and made major strides on their first product, an enzyme compound shown to increase crop yield by 10 percent in adverse conditions. This product has enormous potential for crop sustainability and resilience without utilizing controversial genetically modified seeds.
That product has now proven its potential.
In late September, the firm signed an agreement with Bayer CropScience, the agricultural arm of the German multinational, to use soil microbes to help improve plant health and improve crop productivity.
It’s a true breakthrough deal. Bayer CropScience says the technology will help feed a world population projected to exceed 9 billion people by 2050.
“Bayer CropScience really brings a lot to the table, and we can mix that with some of our technologies and expertise,” Brian Thompson said in an interview. “It’s really a win-win collaboration to get together and develop the best products.”
“We believe this research will advance the use of soil microbes as a key component of modern agricultural practices in the future,” said Jim Blome, president and CEO of Bayer CropScience LP, in a statement. “This technology provides a unique opportunity to build on Bayer’s industry-leading solutions by developing new products that offer growers a means of increasing yields on their existing acreage.”
Video about Elemental Enzymes (produced by Mizzou Creative for the Bringing Up Business 2016 Innovation and Entrepreneurial Recognition Dinner) via MU Economic Development [3 min]
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