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Why Inari relies on Flanders to help revolutionize crops

In order to address the growing demand for quality food and help tackle the effects of climate change in agriculture, American biotech company Inari is developing climate-resilient seeds. The goal is to make crops yield more with less reliance on water and chemicals, while also making them more suitable for a variety of soil types and weather conditions. Find out why the company has opened its very first R&D branch in Flanders.

Greater efficiency

As a spin-off of Flagship Pioneering, an American venture capital firm that guides and supports innovative life sciences projects, Inari intends to disrupt the agricultural industry by tapping into the natural genetic diversity of seeds. The goal is to develop higher-yielding, climate-resilient crops faster and more efficiently. “The key to uncovering the untapped potential of natural diversity in seeds is Inari’s unique technology,” says CEO Ponsi Trivisvavet. “We have the ability to rapidly enhance nature’s genetic diversity and provide ways to increase yields, save water and reduce agriculture’s impact on our land and climate.”

The key to uncovering the untapped potential of natural diversity in seeds is Inari’s unique technology.

Ponsi Trivisvavet
CEO of Inari

Heavyweight partnerships

Inari’s 550 m2 laboratory and office facility in Ghent is located at BioScape, a leading life sciences incubator. It’s the company’s first expansion outside of the US. In Flanders, Inari has partnered up with renowned life sciences research institute VIB, and ILVO, the institute for agriculture, fisheries and food. Joining forces with these two strategic research centers, Inari is fast-tracking its ambition with the help of Flanders’ prominent life sciences community.

Research excellence in Flanders

Inari currently employs 6 researchers in Flanders but expects to hire up to 40 employees in the years to come. “Ghent is a center of excellence in plant science, and we are excited to be part of this thriving biotech ecosystem as we accelerate our efforts and challenge an industry that is unquestionably overdue for innovation,” says Fred Van Ex, managing director at Inari. “By working collaboratively with VIB and ILVO, we will continue to make steady progress toward our goal of advancing agriculture.”

By working collaboratively with VIB and ILVO, we will continue to make steady progress toward our goal of advancing agriculture.

Fred Van Ex
managing director at Inari

Granddaughter of the green revolution

Ponsi Trivisvavet is one of many women in Inari’s leadership team. Also among them is Vice President Julie Borlaug, whose family name carries a lot of weight in the agricultural industry. She is the granddaughter of Dr. Norman Borlaug, also known as the ‘father of the green revolution’. He won the Nobel Peace Prize and was credited for saving over a billion people from starvation.

The ultimate goal of Inari is to bring “personalized seeds” to the market that can be sold directly to seed companies and farmers. In striving to complete its mission, the company rejects partnerships with agri-industry giants. “Our focus is on smaller players with whom we can build natural alliances,” Julie Borlaug concludes.

Inari (US) entered Flanders’ life sciences community with a bang, partnering up with some of Flanders’ leading research institutes. The firm was the deserving winner of FIT’s Newcomer of the Year Trophy 2020. “It is not just Flanders’ unique ecosystem that convinced us. We are also able to attract incredibly talented employees.”

2 December 2020

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