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Seed Company Inari Named 2019 Technology Pioneer by World Economic Forum

Inari works with proprietary technology that includes proven plant breeding tools like multiplex editing.

Inari, a new seed company that’s tapping the natural genetic diversity via plant breeding using biological and data sciences, has been chosen as a 2019 Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum. Inari partners with independent seed producers, using its computational and genetic toolbox to introduce high-performing plant varieties that address farming challenges. Inari was recently cited in the June 2019 Successful Farming magazine cover story as one of several new venture capital-financed firms entering the seed industry. 

World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers, chosen from hundreds of candidates worldwide, are early- to growth-stage companies involved in the design, development, and deployment of new technologies and innovations that are poised to significantly impact business and society. 

“We’re excited to welcome Inari to this year’s innovative class of technology pioneers,” said Fulvia Montresor, head of Technology Pioneers at the World Economic Forum, in a news release. “Inari and its fellow pioneers are leaders in using novel technologies to transform their industries. We see great potential for these next-generation companies to shape solutions to global challenges and improve society for years to come.”

Founded by Flagship Pioneering in 2016, Inari partners with independent seed producers, using its computational and genetic toolbox to introduce high-performing plant varieties that improve the economic and environmental realities of production agriculture. Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with additional sites in West Lafayette, Indiana, and Ghent, Belgium, Inari has a growing team of over 100 employees. 

Inari officials say the firm has already achieved key milestones with two efforts. Its technologies have been proven at field-level trials with higher-yielding gene-edited tomatoes, and in the lab, with new diversity introduced simultaneously through five natural genes in corn.

The achievement in corn is an important breakthrough for plant scientists as Inari works to develop crops that offer superior performance while requiring fewer inputs, including chemical fertilizer and water, according to Inari officials.

“Multiplex editing is a significant advancement in the evolution of plant breeding,” says Jennifer Doudna, co-discoverer of CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology and a member of Inari's Scientific Strategy Board. “It creates opportunities to address complex issues that have hindered scientists for decades.”

This year’s 56-member group of Technology Pioneers was selected by a committee of academics, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and corporate executives, based on criteria that included innovation, potential impact, and leadership. Past recipients of the award include Airbnb, Google, Kickstarter, Mozilla, Palantir Technologies, Spotify, TransferWise, Twitter, and Wikimedia.

“We are honored and excited to be acknowledged by the forum,” says Inari CEO Ponsi Trivisvavet. “The Pioneer award is recognition that our technology is seen not only as a game-changer for our industry, but as a way to improve the lives of millions as we work to feed a growing population in the face of environmental concerns.”

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