February 26, 2020
Durham, NC – Oerth Bio (pronounced “Earth”), an agricultural biotech company, today announced several key leadership hires. Oerth Bio is working to advance a proprietary technology platform to engineer proteolysis targeting chimeras, or PROTAC® targeted protein degraders, as an entirely new approach to protecting and improving plant health and the global food system.
“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 John Dombrosky, Chief Executive Officer, of Oerth Bio. “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.”
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.
About PROTAC® Technology in Agriculture
The world’s population is projected to reach nearly 10 billion people by 2050, pushing our food system beyond its limits. Simultaneously, society faces environmental challenges which could lead to unpredictable disease patterns in crops, water scarcity, reduced soil quality, and more. The challenge is clear – new products to help farmers improve crop yields and feed the world’s growing population are needed now.
Oerth Bio is taking a unique therapeutic approach to these challenges by addressing the health of our crops from the inside out without modifying any genetic information. Within every living organism – human, plant, animal, insect, or microbe – a natural protein management system is continuously at work to recycle proteins into their basic components.
Oerth Bio is harnessing this system via a proprietary technology platform known as proteolysis targeting chimeras, or PROTAC® targeted protein degraders. Our two joint-venture partners, Arvinas and Bayer recognized that PROTAC® protein degraders have the potential to protect and improve the health of our global food system. Arvinas, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, has pioneered research into PROTAC® targeted protein degraders, turning targeted protein degradation into one of the most promising areas of medical research and challenging the perceived limits of drug discovery.
Our mission at Oerth Bio is to translate this PROTAC® technology platform into a cleaner, healthier, and more abundant food system.
About Oerth Bio
Oerth Bio is reimagining crop protection through a comprehensive, therapeutic approach to crop health. The innovation at the heart of this vision is PROTAC® technology, a targeted biotech solution known for its potential in addressing human disease. At a global scale, PROTAC® technology could have transformative implications for crop protection, and promises a cleaner, healthier, and more abundant food system. Oerth Bio is a joint venture between Arvinas and Bayer, supported by over $55 million in committed funding and operational support from Bayer, and technology and intellectual property from Arvinas. We are located in Durham, North Carolina.