Deeply experienced agtech leader sees opportunity in company’s portfolio of safe, specific and effective biopesticides and novel RNAi manufacturing technology.
TechAccel LLC, the technology and venture development company investing in scientific breakthroughs for healthier plants, animals and foods, today announced that Steven Meyer has joined its subsidiary RNAissance Ag LLC as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately.
Meyer most recently was chief operating officer at Lucy Scientific Discovery Inc., British Columbia, a cGMP manufacturer of psychotropic compounds for therapeutic uses. Prior to this role, he was the co-founder and CEO of Heya Wellness of St. Charles, Mo., a vertically integrated medical cannabis firm.
He worked the previous 16 years at Monsanto (now Bayer Crop Science) in a variety of scientific and commercial roles. He conducted biotechnology research that led to the development of multiple commercial products and played a key role in transforming the firm’s insect control discovery pipeline, leading to his appointment as a Monsanto Science Fellow. He also served as Operations Lead for North America Knowledge Transfer, where he was responsible for developing and executing strategies to deliver agronomy support to commercial field teams and customers.
“Steve has the expertise and leadership to drive the RNAissance Ag technology – both in biomanufacturing and biopesticide development – to commercial success,” said Michael Helmstetter, Ph.D., Chairman of the RNAissance Ag Board of Directors and TechAccel founder and president. “Plus, he has an innovator’s mindset and draws upon an extraordinary range of experiences and insights. We can’t wait to start working with him.”
RNAissance Ag, which is in the process of expanding its office and lab facilities at BRDG Park in St. Louis, is a startup founded in 2019 by TechAccel based on a novel RNA-interference (RNAi) technology developed at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. RNAi is a technology that regulates gene expression without genetic modification.
The primary focus of RNAissance Ag is the development of sprayable RNAi pesticides against pests such as the Diamondback Moth, Fall Armyworm and several others. RNAissance Ag pesticides are designed to be highly specific to the target pest, are not toxic to other organisms and are biodegradable. RNAissance Ag’s designs also have applications as pesticidal traits in crop seeds.
“I am excited and honored to join RNAissance Ag as its CEO,” Meyer said. “I am very impressed by the quality and caliber of the team, which is at the heart of every great company. I believe the full potential of RNAi-based solutions in agriculture is yet to be seen. This innovative technology not only has the potential to offer a much-needed new tool to solve some of the toughest challenges we face in agriculture, but it also promises to revolutionize sustainable agriculture, making it safer for people and our planet.”
Meyer has a master’s degree in biological sciences from Washington University and a bachelor’s in biological sciences from Lindenwood University. An entrepreneur and scientist, he is passionate about agricultural sustainability and ethnopharmacology, the exploration and understanding of medicinal uses of plants.