Seed World

Gene Editing can Earn Consumers’ Trust. Logan Skori says That has Big Implications

Logan Skori, co-founder of AgGene which increases plant protein content in a greenhouse. Photo: Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

The role of the modern CEO has evolved to encompass a wide range of responsibilities that extend beyond traditional business functions. A CEO is now expected to be a visionary, a crisis manager, an innovator and a leader. Seed World Canada has selected six CEOs for our list of the top boardroom leaders of the year. Here’s the fourth entry.

With a background rooted in farming and a passion for innovation, Logan Skori of Calgary’s AgGene has emerged as a leader in the biotech industry. His journey is marked by a commitment to providing sustainable solutions to one of the world’s most pressing challenges: feeding a growing global population.

His mission? To address the critical need for protein production and availability, a challenge that looms large in the face of a growing world population.

One of Skori’s key insights is the potential of gene editing technology to revolutionize agriculture. AgGene has developed a proprietary technology to increase protein in a portfolio of globally important crops. Genome editing can be deployed to disable the function of genes, which can suppress the accumulation of protein in the seed. When these genes are disabled, the plant can drive production and accumulation of protein in the seed.

“Gene editing can play a pivotal role in increasing protein production efficiently,” he says. “It’s not just about creating innovative solutions; it’s about ensuring they reach the hands of those who need them and gaining the trust of consumers along the way.”

Skori’s plan is to start genome editing by the end of the year and have materials in confined field trials by 2025 or 2026. AgGene’s in-house plant transformation pipeline is poised to accelerate the process, making these ground-breaking innovations a reality sooner rather than later.

Skori’s team is currently small but growing steadily. With three full-time members, including himself, and a plan to add one or two more within the next year, he understands the importance of strategic expansion.

“Growth brings its own set of challenges and risks, but it’s a path we’re willing to navigate,” he says.

Although he didn’t have extensive experience in managing a business before founding his company, he brought a unique perspective informed by his farming upbringing. However, his journey as a CEO has been a learning experience, one that continues to evolve with each passing day.

In recent years, Skori’s company has shifted its focus away from canola and towards crops like rice and chickpeas. This strategic move aligns with the growing demand for higher protein content in pulses. The rice project has already yielded promising results, with protein increases of up to 55%. Chickpeas, still in the early stages, hold tremendous potential.

Qualifications as a Top CEO:

  1. He’s an innovative thinker: He recognizes that despite regulatory complexities, gene editing can play a pivotal role in efficiently increasing protein production.
  2. He takes a consumer-centric approach: He understands the value of biotech but places equal importance on understanding the needs and concerns of end consumers. His consumer-centric approach ensures that innovative solutions not only exist but also gain the trust of consumers and reach those who need them.
  3. He knows the importance of strategic expansion: Skori’s ability to strategically grow his team and company reflects his keen business acumen. He recognizes the importance of a well-balanced team and is proactive in expanding it to meet the demands of the industry.