Seed World

NRGene Selects St. Louis for U.S. Headquarters

View of highrise buildings in downtown St. Louis.

GlobalSTL, the initiative of BioSTL focused on attracting high-growth international companies to St. Louis, announces that Israeli genomics company NRGene has selected St. Louis as the location of its U.S. headquarters. NRGene is the fourth company to move to St. Louis through the GlobalSTL initiative.
NRGene develops advanced computational tools leveraging big data to identify genetic traits to improve yield, environmental tolerance, and disease resistance. It was the first to successfully assemble the whole genome sequence for wheat, one of the most complex plant or animal genomes, five times larger than the human genome, and has assembled more than 80 genomes in less than a year.
“Missouri as the ‘heartland’ of American agriculture is the natural U.S. home for NRGene,” says Gil Ronen, CEO of NRGene. “Our strong partnership with the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center brought us to St. Louis, and GlobalSTL convinced us to stay.”
The recruitment of NRGene is another example of GlobalSTL’s focus on prospects that match St. Louis’ strengths and is a step forward in creating international recognition for St. Louis as a preferred location for innovation-driven businesses. “With each successful recruitment, we are building a cluster of world-class agritech companies that bring with them technology and talent that enrich the St. Louis ecosystem,” said Donn Rubin, President and CEO of BioSTL, which launched the GlobalSTL initiative in 2014. NRGene is another exciting and highly-respected Israeli company that follows GlobalSTL’s prior recruitment of Kaiima Agro-Biotech, Evogene, and Forrest Innovations.
The GlobalSTL team first encountered NRGene in Israel in April 2015 on a trip that brought together representatives from Monsanto, KWS, and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. NRGene connections with Danforth Center scientists influenced NRGene’s decision to consider St. Louis as its North America base. Since the initial meeting, GlobalSTL has hosted NRGene in St. Louis, introducing them to potential local corporate partners and customers, St. Louis’ innovation districts, and to state agencies to aid in relocation incentives.
Capping off the recruitment process, Gov. Jay Nixon and legislative leaders were able to personally reinforce the message of Missouri’s commitment to NRGene’s success during a trade mission to Israel last month.
“NRGene’s decision to locate its U.S. headquarters in St. Louis is another big win for the region and a testament to our commitment to competing worldwide for jobs and investment,” said Gov. Jay Nixon.
The Missouri Partnership facilitated NRGene’s access to state incentives.
NRGene will establish its initial St. Louis location with six employees and headed by Paul Chomet, Ph.D., at CIC@CET in the Cortex district.