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Missouri Ag News Headlines
Danforth Technology Launches its First Startup: PEPTYDE BIO
Missouri Ag Connection - 06/29/2022

Danforth Technology Company (DTC), a Donald Danforth Plant Science Center subsidiary that facilitates early-stage development of startup companies based on Danforth Center technologies, has announced the creation of its first company, Peptyde Bio Inc.

Peptyde Bio discovers, designs, and characterizes novel anti-microbial peptides (AMPs). These peptides can complement or replace chemical fungicides because they are effective, environmentally friendly, and have lower cost of development compared to traditional fungicides. With a strong pipeline developed through robust design capabilities, Peptyde Bio enables its partners to more quickly and cost effectively commercialize AMP-based biofungicides.

"Peptyde Bio's biofungicides are derived from nature and have the potential to become game changers in combating crop diseases," said Tom Laurita, CEO of DTC and the interim CEO of Peptyde Bio. "As the need to reduce the environmental footprint of agriculture intensifies, innovative solutions such as biofungicides containing AMPs are vital to a more sustainable way of growing crops."

Peptyde Bio was co-founded by two Danforth Center principal investigators, Dilip Shah, PhD, who has studied AMPs for more than 20 years, and Kirk Czymmek PhD, an expert in cell biology and fungal disease mechanisms. Drs. Shah and Czymmek serve as chief science officer and chief technology officer, respectively. Jeremy Mills, PhD, Arizona State University, an expert in computational protein design, joins the team as a scientific consultant.

Peptyde Bio received initial investments from DTC and BioGenerator Ventures with other investors expected to join the pre-seed round in the coming months. The startup also received a nondilutive grant and was selected to be part of the 4th agtech cohort of the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2), a collaboration between the Wells Fargo Foundation, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Danforth Center that helps early-stage agtech companies further develop their technologies and speed their path to market.

Peptyde Bio resulted from the Danforth Center Startup Initiative, a strategic priority that seeks to accelerate movement of scientific discovery from the lab to the marketplace to address global challenges in food and the environment. The initiative is designed to help Center scientists recognize opportunities for marketable applications of their research by securing intellectual property, funding proof-of-concept research, assessing product and market potential, providing entrepreneurial talent, and creating companies with early-stage funding through DTC. Companies from this initiative are released into the St. Louis Agtech ecosystem to compete in the marketplace.

"Peptyde Bio resulted from a new way of thinking about how to realize impact from our science and technologies," said Danforth Center President and CEO Jim Carrington, PhD. "The company has tremendous potential to address significant challenges at the nexus of agriculture and the environment."


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