8:00 am Registration & Morning Coffee

8:50 am Chairperson’s Opening Remarks

Bridging the Gap Between Fundamental Plant-Soil Microbiome Science & Its Applications in the Farmer’s Field

9:00 am Novel Biologicals and Combinations for Crop Protection

  • Kelly Smith Agricultural Biotechnology Innovator, Formerly at AgBiome


  • Biological products are an important pest management tool
  • Our novel products are selected to be as efficacious as competing chemistries
  • Combination products allow multiple modes of action to combat resistance development

9:30 am The Long & Short of Microbiome Sequencing


  • Loop Genomics long read products for Microbiome sequencing enable diversity characterization with unparalleled accuracy and resolution
  • Separate Fungi and Bacteria specific long read sequencing technologies provide insight into Microbiome population
  • Long read Transcriptomics enable, for the first time, a quantitative view into the gene expression of full length transcripts

9:45 am Translating Scientifically Validated Microbial Hits into Functional Products

  • John Kruse Chief Technology Officer , Plant Response Biotech


  • Outlining underlying mechanisms of Plant Response Biotech’s fungal endophyte under development
  • Sharing the story from original discovery through to target validation
  • Expanding the portfolio of field trials for this product

10:15 am Environmental Intelligence: The Missing Piece of Biologics Development & Commercialization


  • Environmental conditions have major impacts on the performance of biological products
  • Product development processes often yield large volumes of data, but these volumes of environmental data only become useful when they are distilled into tangible, actionable insights that can improve decision making
  • Without adequate understanding of the impact of environmental variables on product performance, it is difficult to position biological products for success in the market
  • Environmental intelligence unlocks significant opportunities in biologics product development and commercialization through deeper insights into
    trial results and more robust use of those data in product positioning

10:25 am Morning Refreshments & Speed Networking

11:00 am Investigating the Ecology of Corn & Soy Microbiomes


  • Plants recruit a specific microbiome through root exudates
  • Ecological succession patterns apply to rhizosphere microbiome
  • Functional characteristics of the rhizosphere provide opportunities for plant health

11:30 am Supporting Product Development Using Your Data – Your Most Valuable Asset


  • The more trusted the better
  • Discussing early data considerations to maximize the number of data points collected and ensure data diversity
  • Addressing the importance of more independent data collection

11:40 am Discovering the Role of Microalgae for a Healthy Plant Microbiome


  •  Discussing the role of algae in agriculture
  • Increasing growth and yield using microalgae extracts
  • Applications in general and cellular agriculture and bioremediation

Navigating Regulatory Paths to Build a Robust Product Portfolio

11:50 am Understanding How USDA APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine Regulates Organisms in the Phytobiome and the Changes in Plant Pest Regulation

  • Colin Stewart Assistant Director - Pests, Pathogens & Biocontrol Permits Branch , USDA APHIS PPQ


  •  Discussing how and why these organisms are regulated in current frameworks and discussing the permitting process
  • The new plant pest regulation creates a petition process that has eased the regulatory burden on low risk organisms
  • Discussing the report that USDA, EPA, and FDA submitted to Congress on Plant Biostimulants

12:20 pm Panel Debate: Understanding How Regulatory Requirements Feed into Specific Considerations for the Agbiological Product Development Cycle

  • Colin Stewart Assistant Director - Pests, Pathogens & Biocontrol Permits Branch , USDA APHIS PPQ
  • Terry Stone Principal, TB Stone Solutions, LLC


  •  How does testing to demonstrate the activity of an agbiological fit into the regulatory dialog?
  • What are the data requirements needed to make a successful regulatory claim?
  • How are IP and regulation of agbiologicals intertwined?
  • What are the differences in regulatory frameworks around the world for biostimulant and biocontrol products?
  • Is there a role that industry working groups could play to harmonize regulation for agbiologicals?

12:50 pm Lunch & Networking

Securing Support for R&D Projects to Accelerate Products to Market

1:50 pm Corporate Venture Capital Investing – Working with the Business and R&D for Success

  • Colin Steen Head of Operations & Managing Director , Syngenta Ventures


  •  Strong Corporate VC programs are closely aligned with both the reality of the business needs and the input of the R&D organization
  • Companies in the microbiome space cannot ignore the premise of good trialling (development) and knowing how their product works (research)
  • Successful firms will navigate this well and the capital investment will follow

2:05 pm Sharing Experiences of Working with Large Ag Strategics & Traditional VC Companies


  • Establishing successful, two-way collaborations with academics and large ag in line with company vision and strategy
  • Harnessing the robust science underlying our unique screening method to define mechanism of action and buy-in from potential partners in research and commercial product development
  • Outlining the complexity of identifying channels to market for your product

2:15 pm Connections & Collaborations – A Non-Profit’s Toolkit for Technology Innovation

  • Nandini Mendu Senior Director, Agriculture Sector Development , North Carolina Biotechnology Center


  • Technology based economic development includes understanding of the technology and an understanding of the place for the technology in the marketplace
  • Outlining Benefits of a robust ecosystem
  • Sharing experiences of establishing long term partnerships

2:30 pm Panel Discussion: Forging Meaningful Collaborations for Successful Agbiological Development Strategies

  • Colin Steen Head of Operations & Managing Director , Syngenta Ventures
  • Tom Snipes CEO , Plant Response Biotech
  • Nandini Mendu Senior Director, Agriculture Sector Development , North Carolina Biotechnology Center


  • How can we build partnerships/collaborations and set expectations on both sides to achieve R&D goals?
  • What is the true impact of biologics on sustainable food production? • How can these agbiologic product development projects attract and secure investment?
  • How have companies managed to secure funding?
  • How are agbiologics being assessed by investors?
  • Are the arguments of using biologics to safeguard sustainable food production, reducing ag inputs and increasing crop yield resonating well with investors and potential partners?

3:00 pm Close of 4th Microbiome Movement – Agbiotech Summit 2020

3:10 pm Chairperson Closing Remarks