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Benson Hill Receives Two NSF Grants To Improve Photosynthesis

By atomic

June 10, 2014

St. Louis, MO, and Research Triangle Park, NC – June 10, 2014 – Today Benson Hill , an agricultural biotechnology company, announced that it has been awarded two Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The purpose of the STTR grant program is to translate promising discoveries from academic and other research labs to the private sector, ultimately enabling these innovations to reach the market and to benefit society. The two grant awards will fund collaborative projects at Benson Hill and its partner institutions to improve the photosynthetic efficiency and productivity of plants.

Recent research in the plant science community has supported the idea that photosynthetic efficiency is limiting for crop productivity. Nonetheless, a significant research and development effort will be required to improve photosynthesis and intrinsic yield and to advance viable traits into commercial crop plant varieties. The NSF STTR program is focused on high-risk, high-reward research with an emphasis on commercialization potential. Funds from this program will allow Benson Hill , in conjunction with its academic partners for these projects, to conduct research and development of multiple trait candidates and speed their deployment in crop plants.

“We are pleased that NSF has selected these two projects to fund through its STTR program,” said Matt Crisp, president and CEO of Benson Hill . “Benson Hill is focused on the opportunity at the intersection of synthetic biology and the need for next-generation agbiotech traits. The upside potential in crop yield by improving photosynthesis is immense, and the nearly half million dollars from these awards will help us and our partners further develop technologies to make this a reality.”
About Benson Hill

Benson Hill is an agricultural biotechnology company focused on the development of traits to increase intrinsic crop yield, principally by enhancing photosynthetic efficiency.  The company employs an integrated, systems-based approach to trait discovery and validation, and has developed a robust pipeline of next-generation trait candidates.  Benson Hill and its partners are dedicated to addressing the foremost challenge in sustainable production agriculture – boosting crop yields on existing acreage and with limited inputs.

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