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8:00 am Registration & Morning Coffee

Bridging the Gap Between Fundamental Plant-Soil Microbiome Science & Its Applications in the Wild Field

9:00 am Novel Biologicals and Combinations for Crop Protection

  • Kelly Smith Director of Microbials Development , 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 Morning Refreshments & Speed Networking

10:45 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

11:15 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

11:25 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

11:55 am Audience 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


  •  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?

12:25 pm Lunch & Networking

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

1:30 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

1:45 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

2:00 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

2:15 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?

2:50 pm Chairperson Closing Remarks

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