Benson Hill and partners plan new facility and intend to bring hundreds of jobs to St. Louis.
St. Louis, MO (May 7, 2019) - Benson Hill Biosystems, a crop improvement company unlocking the natural genetic diversity of plants, announced its plan to make St. Louis its official headquarters by celebrating a ceremonial groundbreaking at the future site for a 160,000 square foot building, EDGE@BRDG on the Danforth Plant Science Center's campus, pending finalized local approvals. The company is undergoing rapid growth and selected the 39 North innovation district as the preferred location to serve as an integral part of a broader agtech corridor.
"We chose to expand our presence in St. Louis because of its leadership in plant science and commitment to innovation," says Matthew Crisp, CEO and co-founder of Benson Hill. "Dr. Danforth's vision to build an ecosystem in food and agriculture was fostered by stakeholders across the St. Louis community, and Benson Hill is an example of those efforts coming to fruition. We're excited to contribute to the growth and opportunity of the St. Louis region and to the evolution of a more healthy and sustainable food system."
Benson Hill was launched in 2012 to improve the photosynthetic efficiency of crops using a proprietary computational platform, CropOS™, that combines data analytics, machine learning and advanced crop genetics tools. Its success led to expansion of the platform to multiple crop targets and partnerships with dozens of organizations working to develop more healthy and sustainable food choices. Today, Benson Hill has raised over $100 million in venture funding, most recently in a Series C financing round led by GV, the venture capital arm of Alphabet. The company has grown to 117 employees with plans to house a total of 300 employees in the new facility.
"Benson Hill's growth represents the kind of economic opportunity and momentum that creates positive ripple effects for our region," says Larry Chapman, President of Chapman Ventures who will develop the facility EDGE@BRDG. "We design buildings that help creative technology companies like Benson Hill attract and capture the best talent while strengthening the impact of the 39 North innovation district. We are happy to share news of this partnership and expansion opportunity with the St. Louis community as we await completion of the approval process."
Benson Hill will occupy the majority of the 160,000 square foot facility, which will feature flexible research laboratories, shared workspaces, and additional open common elements such as lounges, fitness, yoga and break space designed to encourage collaborative engagement and to improve the quality of the work environment beyond the laboratory bench. The company moved its initial offices in Research Triangle Park, NC to St. Louis at the Helix Center, where it currently occupies 18,000 square feet. The new facility will accommodate growth as the company expands its product development capacity and ramps up commercialization efforts to improve food and ingredients.
"Benson Hill is a product of our innovation ecosystem, and we are so proud to see the company grow in new facilities on our campus," says James Carrington, President of the Danforth Plant Science Center. "Benson Hill is a model for how scientific discovery can transform into real solutions, and should encourage everyone who cares about addressing big challenges at the intersection of food and the environment."
Benson Hill empowers innovators with a revolutionary crop design platform to develop healthier and more sustainable food and ingredients. Our CropOS™ platform combines machine learning and big data with genome editing and plant biology to drastically accelerate and simplify the product development process. More information can be found online at www.bensonhillbio.com. Follow us on Twitter at @BensonHillBio.
Founded in 1998, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is a nonprofit research institute with a mission to improve the human condition through plant science. Research, education and outreach aim to have impact at the nexus of food security and the environment and position the St. Louis region as a world center for plant science. The Center's work is funded through competitive grants from many sources, including the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and through the support of individuals and corporations. For more information please visit, www.danforthcenter.org