First Look: AgTech Firm Inari Plans Industry’s First Seed Foundry

Corn photos from MI Corn College 2014. ( Aimee Cope )

After its launch in July, agtech firm Inari has announced more news regarding its vision to develop seeds in one-third of the time at 10% of the current cost.

Massachusetts-based Inari will be opening its next strategic location at Purdue Research Park and launching what they are calling the world’s first seed foundry—providing a shorter, lower-cost and more precise product development cycle. 

“The seed foundry is a product development process that brings back the genetic diversity which will allow the crops to be more resilient to climate change and more respectful to the environment,” says Inari CEO Ponsi Trivisvavet. “What we are trying to disrupt about the seed industry is to provide advancements in just three years rather than 10, with far less than a $5 billion investment, and in more success categories than yield alone.”

Inari specializes in using gene editing, machine learning, and other technologies to greatly compress development time. The firm aims to work with independent seed companies to co-develop high performance seeds for corn, soybeans, wheat and tomatoes (as the first round of crops focused on.)

Two development examples the Inari team will focus on include fertilizer efficiency (to reduce the demand for commercial fertilizer) and water management (to make crops more drought tolerant.)

At Purdue Research Park, Inari’s facility will total 26,000 square feet including offices, laboratories and greenhouses. Currently, Inari’s employees total 65 at their Cambridge, Massachusetts office, but with the expansion, 30 more employees will be added by 2020.

“Purdue is a premier agricultural and engineering university,” says Mark Stowers, senior vice president of operations and products at Inari. “Having a location there also puts us in the heartland and close to our future customers. And the facilities we were able to access at their technology center are state of the art.”


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