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Region’s Plant Science Ecosystem Provides Key Resources for KWS Gateway Research Center
ST. LOUIS, MO, JUNE 16, 2014 – On the five year anniversary of the opening of the BioResearch and Development Growth (BRDG) Park, KWS SAAT AG (ISIN: DE0007074007), one of the world’s leading seed companies with sales in more than 70 countries, has announced that, after an exhaustive site selection search in dozens of cities, including Research Triangle Park, Boston and the San Francisco Bay area, it has selected St. Louis as the location for its North American research facility, the KWS Gateway Research Center. KWS and BRDG Park officials said today that KWS is working through the design process to customize a significant portion of the BRDG Park’s Building One, developed by Wexford Science + Technology, on the campus of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.
“With the establishment of the KWS Gateway Research Center we are now present in two of the world’s prime locations for plant research: USA and Germany. Located in the BRDG Park, in the middle of a cluster of universities, institutes and startups, the planned new facility is scheduled to strengthen the position of KWS in global plant research, offering proximity to one of the key markets and major centers of excellence in plant research. This will be supported by existing facilities in the BRDG Park as well as by an excellent infrastructure and a top-quality science platform,” explains Léon Broers, KWS Member of the Executive Board responsible for research and breeding.
Sam Fiorello, president of BRDG Park and chief operating officer of the Danforth Center, unveiled the details of the agreement at a news conference held at BRDG Park today. KWS will build a team of at least 75 research and administrative personnel over the next five years, through a combination of relocation from its headquarters in Germany and hiring of new employees. Long-term additional growth opportunities for further expansion are planned. In addition to the lab and office space that KWS will lease at BRDG Park, their plans call for a significant investment in a dedicated greenhouse complex adjacent to Building One. In the interim, the global seed company will take advantage of the ability to lease research grade plant growth space at the Danforth Plant Science Center.
“The region’s reputation for having a critical mass of plant scientists, a trained workforce to provide skilled ‘hands at the bench’, and convenient access to vital core facilities at the Danforth Plant Science Center made St. Louis an attractive place for KWS to establish its North American facility,” said Fiorello. “However, the thing that helped us rise to the top in this very competitive selection process, in my opinion, was our ability to show that St. Louis’ many outstanding civic, corporate and academic institutions know how to work together to create a region in which the collection of these assets is greater than the sum of its parts. The KWS folks told us that this ability to come together to highlight our community as a great place to live, work and play, really did set us apart.”
A variety of state and local incentives were offered to assist KWS in establishing its North American facility, including Missouri Works and Missouri Works Training for creating new jobs and for eligible training costs, tenant improvement funds that can be applied to the build out of their space at BRDG Park, and tax abatement.
“When we first developed Missouri’s Strategic Initiative for Economic Growth in 2010, we recognized that supporting the bioscience industry would be vital to the future of our economy,” said Gov. Nixon. “Since then, we have seen tremendous growth in this industry as more and more bioscience companies are choosing to make their home in Missouri, strengthening the state’s reputation as a bioscience powerhouse. I welcome KWS to the Show-Me State and look forward to building on this success.”
“I’m thrilled to welcome KWS to St. Louis. They are doing groundbreaking work and we are excited their North American Research Center will be located here,” said St. Louis County Executive Charlie A. Dooley. “There are more plant scientists here on this corner than in anywhere else in the world. I want to see that continue to grow. The research that is happening here will help shape our future and feed the world.”
Today’s event included representatives from several organizations involved in recruiting KWS to the region including, Mark Gorski, Wexford Science + Technology, a BioMed Realty Company; Jim Carrington, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center; Denny Coleman, St Louis Economic Development Partnership; Joe Reagan, St. Louis Regional Chamber; Donn Rubin, BioSTL; Chris Chung, Missouri Partnership.
“St. Louis is a top-tier region in one of the world’s most promising industries – biotechnology – and especially in plant science and medical research,” said St. Louis Regional Chamber president & CEO Joe Reagan. “The Regional Chamber worked collaboratively with our economic development partners over the past several months on this major recruitment project. Between the skilled workforce and the connections with the robust biotech sector, KWS will be a welcome addition to our region’s business community.”
About KWS SAAT AG KWS is one of the world's leading plant breeding companies. More than 4,400 employees in 70 countries generated net sales of over €1.1 Billion in the fiscal 2012/13. For more than 150 years KWS has been managed as a family oriented and independent company. Main areas of its work are the breeding of varieties and the production and sale of seed for corn, sugar beet, cereals, potatoes, oil-seed rape and sunflower. 13 % of its annual sales are invested in research and development. KWS uses state-of-the-art plant breeding methods and technologies to continuously improve yields and resistances to diseases, pests and abiotic stress. Further information is available at, www.kws.com.
About BRDG Park at the Danforth Center BRDG Park Bio-Research & Development Growth (BRDG) Park at the Danforth Plant Science Center opened on June 16, 2009. BRDG Park helps life sciences companies’ bridge research, resources and relationships to achieve commercial success. In addition to providing world-class wet laboratories, office space and a prominent incubator, BRDG Park’s location on the Danforth Center’s campus facilitates access to the intellectual capital of top scientists, as well as to greenhouse, growth chambers, microscopy and proteomics facilities and other vital resources. Located in suburban St. Louis County, Missouri, BRDG Park is being developed by Wexford Science +Technology LLC, a BioMed Realty Company, a development company led by a seasoned team of real estate, finance and engineering expert specializing in major university facilities and science research parks nationwide. More information is available at www.BRDG-Park.com.
About Wexford Science & Technology Wexford Science & Technology, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BioMed Realty Trust Inc., is a real estate investment and development company specializing in real estate strategies and solutions for major research institutions including, universities, university-related research parks and healthcare systems. Wexford brings a unique approach of collaborating with clients to build knowledge communities, which are vibrant, mixed-use, amenity-rich environments built on a foundation of discovery, innovation, and entrepreneurial activities. Wexford is developing nine other Knowledge Communities across the U.S: the Bio-Research & Development Growth (BRDG) Park at the Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis; Hershey Center for Applied Research in Hershey, PA; Innovation Research Park @ ODU in Norfolk, VA; University City Science Center in Philadelphia; University of Maryland BioPark in Baltimore; University of Miami Life Science & Technology Park in Miami; University Technology Park at IIT in Chicago; Wake Forest Biotech Place at the Wake Forest Innovative Quarter in Winston-Salem, NC, and The Chesterfield in Durham, NC.
About BioMed Realty Trust BioMed Realty, with its trusted expertise and valuable relationships, delivers optimal real estate solutions for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, scientific research institutions, government agencies and other entities involved in the life science industry. BioMed Realty owns or has interests in properties comprising approximately 16.3 million rentable square feet. Additional information is available at www.biomedrealty.com.
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