Big Picture – A Deep Dive Examination of Arcadia Biosciences Inc
Arcadia Biosciences Inc Snapshot
Genetic Trait Variation By Design.
Genetic variation is naturally abundant in nature. Within large plant populations, a small number of plants contain desirable characteristics based on their unique genetic makeup. Finding those special plants and breeding them with desirable plant varieties can be a challenge and can take decades using traditional techniques.
To help speed this process we use TILLING, a non-transgenic (non-GMO) advanced screening technology developed at the Basic Sciences Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in 1999 and further refined by Arcadia researchers. Using TILLING, our plant development team can cut years off the "needle-in-a-haystack" process of identifying desirable genetic variation within plant populations. Once the desirable plants are identified, our team of traditional plant breeders work to breed identified plants with high-performing commercial varieties of a crop to produce a superior plant variety.
Rapidly Enhancing Desirable Plant Characteristics.
To complement our use of TILLING, we’ve licensed CRISPR-Cas9 technology from the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. CRISPR-Cas9 is a powerful, non-GM technology that enables researchers to rapidly enhance desirable plant characteristics or eliminate undesirable characteristics. So, once we identify desirable genetic variation using TILLING, we employ CRISPR-Cas9 to precisely “edit” individual genes within a plant’s genome, saving years of product development time.
Raj Ketkar President and Chief Executive Officer
Raj Ketkar joined Arcadia as president and chief executive officer in May 2016. He brings nearly 35 years of agriculture and agricultural biotechnology business experience in the U.S. and internationally, including more than 30 years in a variety of business, operations, and strategy roles for Monsanto Company. His positions included managing director of the Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech joint venture in India and director of biotechnology strategy. Mr. Ketkar holds a master’s degree in chemical engineering from Oklahoma State University and a master’s of business administration from the University of New Orleans.
Matthew Plavan Chief Financial Officer
Matthew Plavan joined Arcadia as chief financial officer in September 2016. He brings nearly 30 years of financial and executive leadership experience in biotech, healthcare and high technology sectors. Prior to joining Arcadia, Mr. Plavan served as CFO, COO and CEO of Cesca Therapeutics, Inc., and CFO of Strion Air, Inc. and Reason, Inc. He also held executive finance positions with McKesson Corporation and audit and advisory management positions with Ernst & Young. Plavan is a certified public accountant and earned a bachelor’s degree in business economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Sarah Reiter Chief Commercial Officer
Sarah Reiter joined Arcadia as chief commercial officer in March 2018. She has over 20 years of experience in agriculture with a strong focus on crop protection and sustainability. Prior to joining Arcadia, Ms. Reiter was the USA country head for STK Bio-ag Technologies and global product manager for biologics for Bayer CropScience. She previously served as vice president of marketing and communications for AgraQuest and served in several positions with Syngenta USA. Ms. Reiter holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Davis and a master’s certificate in business administration from the Villanova School of Business.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Kevin Comcowich is chair of Arcadia’s board of directors and has served as a director since October 2016. Mr. Comcowich brings extensive business and financial leadership experience and a proven track record of success in investment management and global capital market strategies. He most recently served as the chief executive officer and portfolio manager of HTX Energy Fund in Houston, Texas. He was previously the president and chief investment officer (CIO) of Sound Energy Partners and served as CIO and research analyst for Southport Energy Plus Partners fund. Mr. Comcowich received his MBA from the University of Indiana and earned his bachelor’s degree from the College of the Holy Cross.
Albert D. Bolles, Ph.D. joined the board of directors in May 2018. He most recently served as the executive vice president, chief technology and operations officer of ConAgra Foods, a leading consumer products food company, where he directed the development and execution of multiple product innovations. Prior to ConAgra, Dr. Bolles was the vice president of worldwide research and development for PepsiCo Beverages and Foods and the research and development director for Gerber Foods. He is a graduate of Michigan State University, where he earned Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in food science and a bachelors’ degree in microbiology. Dr. Bolles holds several patents and has won numerous awards for his contributions to food science, the industry and academics. He currently serves as a director for Landec Corporation.
Raj Ketkar became a member of the board of directors in June 2016, after joining the company as president and chief executive officer in May 2016. He brings nearly 35 years of agriculture and agricultural biotechnology business experience in the U.S. and internationally, including more than 30 years in a variety of business, operations, and strategy roles for Monsanto Company. His positions included managing director of the Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech joint venture in India and director of biotechnology strategy. Mr. Ketkar holds a master’s degree in chemical engineering from Oklahoma State University and a master’s of business administration from the University of New Orleans.
Eric J. Rey joined the board of directors in June 2017. He is one of the founders of Arcadia Biosciences and served as president and CEO, as well as a director, until 2016. Prior to founding Arcadia, Mr. Rey was a partner with Rockridge Group, a management consulting firm for early-stage companies developing genomic, biopharmaceutical, nutraceutical, crop protection, animal nutrition and health, alternative crop and industrial products. He previously served as vice president of operations with Calgene, Inc., including two years with Monsanto Company following its acquisition of Calgene. Mr. Rey has a bachelor’s degree in plant science from the University of California, Davis. He currently serves as a director for Phytelligence, Inc. and Texas Crop Science, LLC.
Lilian Shackelford Murray joined the board of directors in June 2018 and previously served as an observer to the Arcadia board from March 2007 until May 2015. Ms. Murray is the founder and manager of Dovedale Investments and managing member of Saints Capital V. She is a former managing director and senior healthcare banker at Prudential Volpe Technology Group and its predecessor, Volpe, Brown Whelan, and held senior positions with Wheat First Securities and Dean Witter Reynolds. Ms. Murray received an MBA from Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia. Her prior board experience includes service as a director of eMedicine.com, Inc., Extended Care Information Network, Inc. and LifeMasters Supported SelfCare, Inc.
Gregory D. Waller joined Arcadia’s board of directors in June 2017. He is the former chief financial officer (CFO) of Ulthera Corporation, a privately-held company providing ultrasound technology for aesthetic and medical applications, which was acquired by Merz North America in 2014. Previously, Mr. Waller was CFO of Universal Building Products and Sybron Dental Specialties, Inc., and vice president and treasurer of Kerr, Ormco Corporation, and Metrex. Mr. Waller has an MBA with a concentration in accounting from California State University, Fullerton. He has extensive experience serving on the boards of public companies and currently serves as a director for CHF Solutions and Endologix Corporation.
Amy Yoder joined the Arcadia board in August 2017. She is president and CEO of Anuvia Plant Nutrients, a company that creates enhanced plant nutrition products from recycled organic waste sources. Ms. Yoder is the former president of Arysta LifeScience and has held a variety of sales, marketing and executive positions with companies throughout the agricultural and related industries, including Spectrum Brands, BioLab and United Agri Products. Ms. Yoder received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural technology and systems management from Michigan State University. She has served on boards of various agricultural associations and universities and currently serves as a director for Compass Minerals International.