AgriThority hosted Deep Dive Panel discussion during World AgriTech Innovation Summit

The topic of Moving Biologicals from R through D was offered as a breakout session to the 1,600 attendees at the World AgriTech Innovation Summit in San Francisco March 22. Those attending heard firsthand accounts about the key challenges new technology companies face.   

Ignacio Colonna
Gloverson Moro, Ph.D

Dr. Gloverson Moro, Chief Technology Officer of AgriThority, opened the session with an overview about the product development process and the scientific rigor required. Ignacio Colonna, AgriThority Global Director, Science and Technology, dived deeper into the challenges of testing biologicals in the field and how important protocols are to deliver true insights about the value of the non-synthetic biological compounds. Then, expert panelists discussed their experience in the industry. 

Kevin Hammill, CEO of Tidal Grow, brought perspectives from his experiences with Pivot Bio and Marrone Bio compared to the larger entities like Valent and BASF/AmCy as well as from his family farm background. He recommended companies remember the grower is the critical link in the introduction of a product. Knowing the customer pain points can help better define product positioning and benefits to encourage adoption on the farm. Hammill also explained that selling anything new to farmers is about displacing their well-honed current practices. 

With many years of research leading to recent commercial launches of products, Steve Kahn, Co-Founder and CEO New Leaf Symbiotics, offered many insights about the critical steps and requirements to move from research toward successful launch. Understanding at what stage the product is ready for field trials is critical to avoid the costs associated with repetitive testing. Quality controls all along the path toward commercialization also helps avoid increasing time and costs. Kahn also suggested early decisions about collaborative commercialization partnerships for sharing in-the-field trial evaluations. 

Representing the investor insights as well as speaking from his background at Monsanto was Steve Padgette, Managing Director for Technology at Paine Schwartz Partners. He referenced his 35 years of experience in R&D management as well as strategic planning and operations with Monsanto Company.  Padgette reported the high risk of the early introduction of the Roundup Ready technology. Some huge risks reap big rewards, but those don’t happen often in a researcher’s career. He concluded that realistic expectations of time, money and revenue potential often are difficult to determine in the early development stages. Working with start-up companies, Padgette starts with the research but emphasizes the product management and market access is very important.  He said the stage gate process including registration must be realistic. Often this means while the CEO pushes for FAST, the CTO must stand up for the disciplined and realistic process. 

View a highlight video of the presentation below, and reach out to AgriThority to help move your innovation to market. 

Forward-thinking agriculture experts with deep scientific experience are the core of AgriThority®. As an independent global science consultancy, we focus on exploring potential, expanding market access and evolving production for greater food security and sustainability. When your Research is ready for Development, turn to AgriThority for scientific businessmarket and product expertise.