BCS_VerticalLogoBayer CropScience recently announced a licensing agreement with Missouri Innovation Center client Elemental Enzymes. Founders Brian and Katie Thompson started Elemental Enzymes in 2011 based on research conducted at the Christopher S. Bond Life Science Center at the University of Missouri. They have been a resident client at the MU Life Science Business Incubator since that time. Elemental Enzymes has received funding from Centennial Investors and the Missouri Technology Corporation.

The research collaboration and licenses with Bayer are specific to certain Elemental Enzymes technologies in multiple areas of the agricultural industry and provide Elemental Enzymes the opportunity to use innovations created by the collaboration in other areas and industries. The research is part of an on-going collaboration between the two companies involving the use of soil microbes to help improve plant health and improve crop productivity. “Bayer CropScience is a world-class partner to help introduce our proprietary platform to farmers globally,” says Jim Zimmer, global commercialization lead for Elemental Enzymes. Dr. Brian Thompson, CEO of Elemental Enzymes, shares “Our research is focused on delivering unique biological solutions to crops, leading to increased yields.”

Bayer CropScience believes that research in this technology will help broaden the scope of its offerings as a means of addressing agriculture’s long-term goal of helping to feed a world population that will exceed 9 billion people by 2050. “We believe this research will advance the use of soil microbes as a key component of modern agricultural practices in the future,” says Jim Blome, President and CEO of Bayer CropScience LP.

O9zJvMX8_400x400The Missouri Innovation Center has agreed to sponsor Startup Weekend in Columbia again this year. Startup Weekends are weekend-long, hands-on experiences where entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs can find out if startup ideas are viable. The Columbia event takes place this year on Sept 11-13 at Museau Building, 3500 Buttonwood Dr in Columbia. The community is welcome to attend the Opening Party, Pitches and Final Presentation. See the Columbia Startup Weekend website to register or for more information.

Many successful startups have evolved from Columbia’s Startup Weekend over the past 4 years. Last year, EquipmentShare was accepted into the prestigious Y-Combinator Accelerator in Silicon Valley just a few weeks after winning the local event. EquipmentShare came back to Columbia with over $2M of angel investment after attending the accelerator. The same thing happened with Zapier 3 years earlier – although Zapier decided to remain in California.

In addition to the sponsorship, the Missouri Innovation Center has offered to provide the top 2 teams with free space and consulting services in its new Digital Venturing Center. MIC CEO, Bill Turpin, has also been selected as one of the judges.

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Dr Jake Halliday recently joined Tensive Controls as CEO and Chairman. Dr Halliday will assume corporate business and management tasks along with Tensive founder, Dr Ken Gruber, who will continue as Chief Scientific Officer. Dr Halliday served on the Board of Missouri Innovation Center from 1993, and as its CEO from 2004 – 2014. Dr Halliday led the effort to design and build the MU Life Science Business Incubator at Monsanto Place during his tenure as CEO. He was also instrumental in recruiting Tensive Controls as a resident client. Dr Halliday was CEO of ABC Labs in Columbia, MO from 1993 – 2003 and VP for Pharmaceutical Business Development at Battelle (1984 – 1993).

Tensive Controls has a platform technology based on a class of peptides, named Melanocortins, that control metabolism hence regulate weight. Tensive Controls has received innovation R&D grants from NIH for development of a drug to reverse the loss of lean body mass experienced by cancer patients (cachexia). Melanocortins and related peptides also have antimicrobial properties and Tensive Controls is funded by USDA to innovate peptide antimicrobials as an alternative to the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture. Tensive formed a subsidiary, named Animal Health Specialties, in 2014 to deliver targeted solutions for both companion and production animals.

Tensive Controls moved to Missouri from North Carolina has been a resident client of the Missouri Innovation Center since 2012. Tensive has received investment from Centennial Investors and Missouri Technology Corporation.

Screen-Shot-2015-07-23-at-1.06.51-PMUniversity of Missouri’s Chancellor Loftin discussed expansion plans for the Life Science Business Incubator in an interview for the July 24, 2015 issue of Columbia Business Times. In the interview, Loftin notes that “The incubator is maxed out right now in the wet labs.” He listed his goals to “expand the reach of the incubator beyond the traditional life sciences” and “expand the incubator … to support more traditional life science programming.” Missouri Innovation Center is creating the Digital Venturing Center to support the creation of software and internet-related businesses. And, planning is underway on an expansion of the MU Life Science Business Incubator at Monsanto Place that will triple the wet lab capacity.

You can read the entire article online at columbiabusinesstimes.com

Bill-for-webCOLUMBIA, MISSOURI:  Missouri Innovation Center’s Board Chairman David Keller today announced the appointment of Bill Turpin as President and CEO of Missouri Innovation Center (MIC).  Turpin has resided in Silicon Valley since 1990, having participated as a principal in a series of entrepreneurial ventures.  He will move to Columbia to lead MIC effective June 23, 2014.

“Mr Turpin brings the experience of a serial technology innovator and entrepreneur, providing perspectives and leadership that will take Missouri Innovation Center and the business incubator at MU to the next level,” Keller said.  “In particular, we expect Bill to intensify MIC’s services and business mentoring for software entrepreneurs, bringing that support into balance with the strong program in place for life science ventures.”

Bill Turpin was founder of 6 technology startups that were early leaders in significant new product markets and technologies:

  • In a period of text-based PC applications, his first company developed one of the first Windows applications and was acquired by Borland International in 1990.
  • In the early days of the Internet when the Web consisted of static documents, his second company pioneered the use of dynamically generated web pages. Netscape acquired Bill’s company before going public in early 1995. His company’s scripting language went on to become JavaScript.
  • Premier Silicon Valley venture firms Kleiner Perkins and Redpoint Ventures funded Bill’s next startup to create the first email blogging service.
  • Bill’s fourth startup created a platform for building 3D virtual worlds and massively multiplayer games.  Coca Cola, McDonalds, and MTV created virtual worlds using the technology.
  • Since then, Bill has started 2 more companies that are building mobile applications connected to cloud services

In 2013, Jake Halliday, who has led MIC for the past 10 years, announced his intention to retire by mid 2014, prompting a nationwide search by a task force comprised of university and business members of the MIC board of directors.Missouri Innovation Center is a non-profit organization that has supported entrepreneurs and the process of innovation and venturing in mid-Missouri since 1984, working closely with University of Missouri and with financial assistance from Missouri Technology Corporation.  More recently MIC led the initiative to fund and build the Life Science Business Incubator at Monsanto Place which opened in 2009.  MIC now manages the incubator facility and delivers the business incubation program.

Over the past year, MIC has been planning an initiative with university and community stakeholders to incorporate a business software innovation and venturing center into the incubator.  “Bill’s arrival is expected to be a major boost for that agenda, while his extensive experience raising venture capital will benefit MIC clients and mid-Missouri’s entrepreneurs broadly,”  Halliday said.

Mr Turpin grew up in Bowling Green and St Charles, Missouri.  He graduated top of his class from MU’s Electrical Engineering program in 1978.  He took his first position with Texas Instruments in Austin, TX where he participated over a ten year period in software design, system engineering, and software team management.  He completed an executive MBA at the University of Texas, Austin while still at Texas Instruments and formed his first entrepreneurial venture shortly thereafter.