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New agtech bio venture with $55M in backing from Bayer hires 3 senior execs

DURHAM – Oerth Bio, a recently launched agriculture-focused biotech firm backed by Bayer with $55 million in funding is expanding its leadership team with three new hires.

Pronounced “Earth,” Oerth was launched in October 2019 as a joint venture between Bayer and Arvinas. It is led by John Dombrowski, the former CEO of the AgTech Accelerator in RTP.

“We are pioneering a revolutionary technology platform born out of medicinal science to help enhance our global food system’s resilience and farmers’ yield – solving major challenges faced by the modern global food system,” said Dombrosky in announcing the new hires.

“Great companies have great people and cultures. I’m thrilled to welcome this talented group of executives to our expanding team. Together we are on a mission to bring this technology to farmers and consumers around the globe.”

The new execs with bio information provided by Oerth:

  • Megan Lyman, J.D., Intellectual Property and General Counsel

Megan Lyman, J.D. will lead Oerth Bio’s legal, IP and operations teams. Ms. Lyman brings extensive legal and management experience to the team, generating informed IP strategies and supporting operations through leadership, team building, and corporate strategy. Prior to joining Oerth Bio, Ms. Lyman developed intellectual property strategies and portfolios for early stage venture funded AgTech Accelerator portfolio companies.

Ms. Lyman launched her legal career as an associate at Jones Day, where she practiced commercial and patent litigation as well as patent prosecution. Ms. Lyman then ran her own practice for over a decade developing IP portfolios and corporate strategies for corporations practicing in a multitude of technology indications including Bluetooth, biofilm resistant polymers, and artificial intelligence. She actively engages with organizations such as AUTM, Bio, the Farm Foundation, and the Microbiome Movement, as well as various universities. Ms. Lyman received her M.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology at University of Colorado Boulder and her J.D from Pepperdine University School of Law.

  • Dr. Jason Speake, Director of Chemistry

Jason Speake, Ph.D. will lead Oerth Bio’s Chemistry team. Dr. Speake brings an impressive track record of experience in the biotechnology sector advancing innovative products through preclinical and clinical development. Prior to joining the team at Oerth, Dr. Speake was Senior Manager of Discovery Services at Cambrex where he was responsible for internal innovation investment, drug discovery, development leadership, and client interactions. Before Cambrex, he held senior roles at the likes of Avista Pharma, Scynexis, Targacept, and GlaxoSmithKline. Dr. Speake received his B.S. in Chemistry at Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, Oklahoma and his Ph.D. in Chemistry at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, and is an author on over 50 patents and publications.

  • Dr. Daniel Joo, Vice-President of Biology

Daniel Joo, Ph.D. will lead Oerth Bio’s Biology team. He brings to Oerth 20+ years of expertise in both wet lab and dry lab sciences that are critical to innovation in emerging technology. Utilizing both approaches as the Director of Informatics, he led genomics and bioinformatics efforts at AgraQuest, a biopesticide company, which was acquired by Bayer in 2012. Within Bayer, Dr. Joo held various strategic positions in Traits and Biologics, focused on the identification and improvement of novel traits or microbes for controlling weeds, pests and diseases. Prior to joining Oerth, Dr. Joo was the Head of Microbiome Discovery at BASF. He also has 10 years of experience working for start-up biotech companies in human therapeutics. Dr. Joo received both his B.A in Biology and B.A.S. in Computer Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California at Berkeley and conducted his postdoctoral fellowship at UCSF.

Source: WRAL TechWire