• Condensed by Michelle Pelletier Marshall

TechAccel invests in biotechnology startup Plastomics Inc.

TechAccel LLC has announced an investment in St. Louis-based biotechnology startup Plastomics Inc. to fund a scientific research initiative to accelerate the development of Plastomics’ technology. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.

Founded in 2016, Plastomics uses chloroplast genetic engineering as a quick, efficient, and more predictable way to introduce multiple genetic traits into important crops. Chloroplasts are specialized compartments in plant cells that aid in photosynthesis and a number of other functions, including fatty acid synthesis, amino acid synthesis, and the immune response in plants.

In a press release announcing the investment, TechAccel’s Chief Science Officer Brad Fabbri, Ph.D. noted that “If successfully developed for corn or other row crops, chloroplast transformation offers a number of unique benefits over ‘traditional’ nuclear transformation, including potential high expression levels of a transgene, ease of combining (‘stacking’) multiple transgenes in the same plant and not having the transgenic traits transmitted via pollen drift.”

One specific initiative will be the development of Plastomics' new chloroplast-expressed insect control trait.

Overland Park, Kansas-based TechAccel, identifies and invests in new technologies and funds science advancement initiatives with leading research universities to drive the innovations to market. TechAccel Co-Founder, President, and CEO Dr. Michael Helmstetter said, in an interview with GAI News, a sister publication of the Oilseed & Grain News, "We are focused on a few specific areas – gene editing, including RNAi and epigenetics for improving traits; unlocking the secrets of the microbiome for biopesticides and improved nutrients; and deploying biotechnology for safer and more effective vaccines, feeds, and nutrients.” Read the interview for more details about TechAccel.

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