BIOPESTICIDE RESEARCH (JOINT VENTURE)
In 2017, TechAccel awarded the first investment in its “Path to Commercialization” program at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. The $60k investment sponsored a science advancement research project to demonstrate that a new class of genes could be superior targets for control of insect pests by RNA interference (or RNAi).
TechAccel worked with Danforth Center scientists and inventors Nigel Taylor, Ph.D., and Bala Venkata, Ph.D., to validate that their RNAi insecticide technology was effective against economically important Lepidoptera pests, which have historically been resistant to RNAi. The outcomes were positive: the project demonstrated about 1000x better efficacy against Lepidoptera than previously published reports and the technology was also effective against Coleopteran and Trombidiforme pests. TechAccel continues to invest resources to expand the technology, improve the patent application and advance product development.
TechAccel and the Danforth Center formed RNAissance Ag LLC, a company that holds the exclusive license to the RNAi technology. RNAissance Ag is focusing internal efforts on developing RNAi insecticide sprays while seeking opportunities to sub-license transgenic uses of the technology.
In 2019, RNAissance Ag was awarded a grant from the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) to further advance its technology. The company was one of just five in the program’s first agtech cohort, co-sponsored by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.