Startup to build biotech plant breeding research facility at Purdue

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inari Seed Foundry at Purdue
Ponsi Trivisvavet, CEO of Inari, talks Wednesday (Nov. 7) about why the Cambridge, Massachusetts, company decided to expand its operations to the Purdue Research Park business complex in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Purdue Research Foundation image/Oren Darling)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Inari, a plant breeding technology company that is part of the private equity and venture capital firm Flagship Pioneering, has introduced a Seed Foundry as part of the company’s mission to reintroduce genetic diversity.

The seed research facility will be located in the Purdue Research Park business complex, in West Lafayette, Indiana. There, the Cambridge-based Inari will focus on product development and innovation, enhanced by its proximity to the seed industry and the Purdue University College of Agriculture.

Inari eyes customized seeds

The company hopes to use the natural genetic diversity in plants, equipping crops to be more resilient to climate change, while significantly lowering product development costs and accelerating the timeline for introduction of new varieties.

Inari plans to make precise changes to genes to deliver desired field performance through customized seeds for microclimates around the world.

“We are looking forward to tapping into the community and research prowess of Purdue. Establishing a base in Indiana will not only allow us to ramp up our product development efforts, but it puts this activity in close proximity to seed companies, which we view as the best partners to reintroduce genetic diversity in agriculture,” said Inari CEO Ponsi Trivisvavet.

Purdue University President Mitch Daniels said the Boston-area startup conducted a national search to find the best location.

“With joint goals to advance agriculture and provide sustainable food products for people around the world, Inari and Purdue are a natural fit,” Daniels said.

Karen Plaut, Purdue’s Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture, said working with Inari will create opportunities for faculty, students and others involved in agriculture.

“Inari is applying unique artificial intelligence and data sciences in its efforts to grow this high-tech agriculture company. These are all areas of excellence here at Purdue, so we welcome their arrival,” Plaut said.

Inari aims to revolutionize plant breeding by merging the latest technologies with leading-edge data analysis tools to bring top-performing plants to market faster with the aim of cutting breeding time by two-thirds and cutting development costs by up to 90 percent.

The facility

Inari’s total 26,000 square feet at Purdue Research Park will consist of an office space, lab and a 6,000-square-foot greenhouse complex. Growing the Inari team, currently at 65 people, the team based out of Research Park will add another 50 people by 2023 and consist primarily of scientists and product development teams.

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