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Inari’s agricultural revolution hits Europe with a new site in Ghent

Written by ALB on in the category Insights with the tags , , .


Inari, a U.S. company revolutionizing agricultural R&D, have just opened up their first overseas office in Ghent, Belgium. Partnering with Belgian life sciences and agriculture institutes VIB and ILVO, Inari aims to take advantage of the local talent and resources in their efforts to increase water and nitrogen-use efficiencies in crops such as maize, soy and wheat. The ultimate goal, according to CEO Ponsi Trivisvavet, is to make crops more sustainable and resilient to the effects of a changing world.

Seeds of success

Founded by Flagship Pioneering in 2016, Inari have been challenging stifled innovation and the status quo in the agricultural world ever since. Their company’s mission is to reintroduce genetic diversity into crops, revolutionize the seed industry and create a sustainable food system. To achieve these lofty goals, Inari is building the world’s first Seed Foundry™, a system to tap the natural genetic diversity in crops and develop new, high-performance seeds.

With our Seed Foundry, we have really pushed the envelope on how plant science is being conducted. - Ponsi Trivisvavet, Inari Agriculture
 

CEO Ponsi Trivisvavet explains the inspiration behind the company’s foundation:

“The question that inspired Inari was simple: Why is plant breeding being conducted in the same way today as it has been for the past 100 years? Why aren’t we being innovative in our efforts to enhance crop performance and learn from research in human health and other life sciences?”

With modern tools, Inari are improving productivity and lowering the time and cost required to create new seeds. Seeds that will eventually grow into crops that are able to feed a world in flux.

Shaking the tree

Why is plant breeding being conducted in the same way today as it has been for the past 100 years? - Ponsi Trivisvavet, Inari Agriculture
 

Inari’s research centers on their proprietary Seed Foundry.  A combination of classical breeding and modern technology, the process allows the company to use the naturally occurring genetic diversity of plants to create resilient, sustainable crops. Trivisvavet explains:

“At Inari, we have a holistic picture of plant breeding. We use two primary technologies, computational crop design and a genetic diversity toolbox, to enhance our product development process. By marrying the two, the Seed Foundry allows us to generate high performance seeds in a fraction of the normal times.”

Expecting their first seeds on the market within the next 12-18 months, Inari’s results so far have been nothing short of astounding.

“The normal breeding time for a new plant product is 7-10 years,” says Trivisvavet. “At Inari, we have cut the product development time down from ten years to just under three. We have also increased plant performance significantly and managed to do it all at 10% of the typical industry costs. It is something that we are very proud of; with our Seed Foundry, we have really pushed the envelope on how plant science is being conducted.”

Why choose Belgian turf?

This site is important to us due to the proximity of our local partners VIB and ILVO. Collaboration and partnering puts you in a stronger position than if you were to try to do everything by yourself. - Fred Van Ex, Inari Agriculture
 

The move to the Bioscape facility in Ghent represents Inari’s first step onto the global agricultural stage. The Ghent team will be focusing their efforts on increasing the water and nitrogen-use efficiencies in crops, characteristics critical to addressing climate change and reducing the need for chemical fertilizers. When asked why Ghent, specifically, was selected for their new R&D site, Trivisvavet stated:

“There are two main reasons that Ghent is such an attractive location for us. One is the local talent: when it comes to genomic and bioinformatic knowledge, Belgium has an incredible concentration of expertise. A second reason is our partnership with VIB. We highly value the knowledge, experience, skill sets and approach that they have to plant science.

Fred Van Ex, General Manager Inari Belgium, agreed: “This site is important to us due to the proximity of our local partners VIB and ILVO. Collaboration and partnering puts you in a stronger position than if you were to try to do everything by yourself. I think that is one of the strengths we have, as a small company: we’re good partners for public institutions because we create win-win partnerships, which is not always the case with bigger companies.”

This article was sponsored by Inari Agriculture. For more information on BioVox sponsored articles, please contact us on: news@biovox.be

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