Durham, NC, August 26, 2021 – Oerth Bio (pronounced “Earth”), an agricultural biotech company, today announced that Chris Otey, PhD, MBA, has joined the company as Chief Technology Officer, and Laura Schuchart, MBA, as Head of Corporate Development and Communications.
Dr. Otey brings more than 20 years of experience in R&D strategy, platform development, and life science technology translation expertise, and will focus on further building Oerth’s technology platform, partnerships, and programs. Ms. Schuchart, with more than two decades of experience in business development and marketing strategy, will focus on growing Oerth’s partnering outreach programs and corporate communications.
Oerth Bio is advancing its proprietary Attune™ platform to produce PROTAC® molecules that protect, fine-tune, and biostimulate crops facing significant threats. The company’s ambition is to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture and nourish a growing population, without compromising on-farm demands. By harnessing the plant’s natural biomachinery, Oerth Bio’s scientists can overcome legacy small molecule limitations while retaining their key advantages.
“We relish the challenge of rapidly translating this promising therapeutic modality into agriculture,” said John Dombrosky, Chief Executive Officer of Oerth Bio. “To be successful, we will need to have the right people and the right culture in place. We’re thrilled to welcome Chris and Laura to our energetic team, advancing our Attune platform and pipeline.”
With more than two decades of biotech and life sciences experience, Dr. Otey joins Oerth Bio as Chief Technology Officer, where he will lead corporate and R&D strategy. Prior to joining Oerth Bio, he was Vice President of Commercial Strategy at Indigo Agriculture, Inc. where he led commercial strategy and operations. Dr. Otey has held senior positions with Alexandria Venture Investments and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He holds a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics from the California Institute of Technology, an MBA in Finance from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and a BS in Biochemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
“Existing pesticides and herbicides are becoming less effective as destructive weeds, insects, fungi, and viruses have developed resistance. New solutions are imminently needed. At Oerth Bio we believe tapping into nature’s strengths is the most viable way to improve our food system and our environment now and for future generations,” said Dr. Otey. “In just two short years, Oerth Bio has worked at warp speed to advance its Attune platform and identify groundbreaking crop protection programs for weed, disease, and pest control, as well as programs aimed at improved nitrogen use by plants, and improved nutritional value post-harvest.”
Ms. Schuchart brings with her more than two decades of strategic marketing communications, business development, and change management expertise. As Head of Corporate Development and Communications at Oerth Bio, she will lead corporate communications, investor relations, and marketing strategy. Prior to joining Oerth Bio, she held various global leadership positions within Syngenta Seeds R&D, most recently Head of Learning & Transformation. She has also held communications, business development, and strategic marketing positions with BTB Communications, Grafik Marketing, and Mottis Creative. Ms. Schuchart served as Adjunct Professor in Campbell University’s Lundy Fetterman School of Business where she taught “Professional Selling and Sales Management.” Ms. Schuchart holds an MBA from Northeastern University and a BS in Communications and Media from Liberty University.
“I joined Oerth Bio because I believe the breakthrough science and innovation here will transform agriculture. The future will look dramatically different for plants and for people,” reflected Ms. Schuchart. “We have a unique opportunity with our two founding companies, Bayer and Arvinas, combining their expertise in agriculture and biotech, to move quickly in addressing real food system challenges. I look forward to helping build a company that is pioneering natural plant processes to create plant-healthy and planet-healthy solutions for the farm.”
About the Attune™ Platform
Oerth Bio’s Attune platform harnesses and ignites natural biological systems existing within all animals, plants, insects, and fungi. These systems are responsible for regulating cellular harmony. Pre-factoring desired environmental precision and performance outcomes, Oerth Bio is developing a range of crop protection and valuable trait enhancement assets. The company is developing its platform to target, modulate and “tune” these systems.
Oerth Bio is developing programs with the potential to:
- Protect crops from weeds, pests, fungi, and other threats, without harming the surrounding environment.
- Increase plant resilience through enhanced immunity, stronger root structures and density, and maximized nitrogen use to better handle harsh environmental conditions.
- Improve taste, appearance, nutritional value, and post-harvest efficiency of crops without altering the plant genome.
About Oerth Bio
Oerth Bio is an agricultural biotech company working to reduce the environmental impact of agrochemical solutions, and nourish a growing population with the eco-friendly, healthy foods it demands. The company develops sustainable, environmentally-designed crop and farm solutions that enable an unprecedented ability to fine-tune crops to protect them from pests, make them more resilient to changing environmental stressors, and increase nutritional value and post-harvest durability.
Oerth Bio was formed as a joint venture between Arvinas and Bayer, supported by $56 million of committed funding and operational support from Bayer, and technology and intellectual property from Arvinas. We are located in Durham, North Carolina.