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Fourth Israeli company to put U.S. headquarters in St. Louis

(courtesy BioSTL)

NRGene is an ag tech company based in Israel that will soon have a presence in St. Louis.

"Settling in St. Louis is actually a pretty easy decision," said Paul Chomet, who will head up the office here.

He said that’s because NRGene, which uses big data analytics to identify genetic traits and improve crops, has dealt with ag companies and scientists in St. Louis previously. That includes the world-renowned Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.

“We’re very excited to be bringing this company to St. Louis and looking forward to really pushing the envelope on agriculture technology and improvement in crops in the coming years,” Chomet said.

Bringing Israeli biotech companies to St. Louis has become something of a trend. NRGene joins Kaiima Agro-Biotech, Evogene, and Forrest Innovations. All four were recruited by BioSTLthrough an initiative it first began in 2014.

BioSTL president and CEO Donn Rubin said getting another company here will bring more attention to St. Louis.

“That opens the door for us to be able to tell our story to more companies, to more CEOs, to more investors and really accelerate the awareness about St. Louis and our strengths,” he said.

The effort to attract companies has expanded beyond Israel with the GlobalSTL initiative. Now it’s focusing on companies in Ireland, China, and the Netherlands. Rubin said the goal is to bring in high-growth companies that are no longer startups.

“Our focus on attracting international companies is to identify companies that are beyond those stages; that have been validated by investors; they have a product; they have revenue,” Rubin said. “These are companies that are poised for tremendous growth at the point when they first come to St. Louis.”

NRGene expects to ramp up to six employees in St. Louis over the next two years. The company will be housed at CIC@CET in the innovation district Cortex.

Follow Maria on Twitter: @radioaltman

Maria is the newscast, business and education editor for St. Louis Public Radio.