February 11, 2015
M. Duane Nellis
Texas Tech University and the Texas Tech University Research Park Board of Directors, through the support of the Office of the Vice President for Research and the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, announced Wednesday that Chromatin will be the first tenant signed to move into the new Texas Tech Innovation Hub and Research Park, moving its research and development team to Lubbock.
“We are excited to welcome Chromatin as the first tenant at the research park,” said M. Duane Nellis, Texas Tech president. “This collaboration is a natural fit for Texas Tech University, the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and the South Plains region. The South Plains will benefit greatly from Chromatin's presence on our campus.”
Chromatin is an agbiotech company headquartered in Chicago dedicated to uncovering solutions to some of the biggest global agriculture issues today. Through its research into developing sorghum hybrids, Chromatin targets its research in areas such as water scarcity, increasing global demand for food and the limits on fertile land.
“What I'm really excited about is a major agricultural company in the United States is focusing its research and development efforts here in West Texas based upon the excitement of collaboration with our agricultural school and the opportunity through the research park to develop again their symbiotic relationship with the university, both to bolster their corporation but also the public interest in terms of new research into all things related to sorghum,” said Robert V. Duncan, Texas Tech vice president for research.
Chromatin will move its research and development team from Champaign, Illinois to Lubbock, creating approximately 12 jobs. The company also has seed operations offices in Lubbock and New Deal.
“Chromatin is excited to bring its industry-leading sorghum research program to the new Texas Tech Innovation Hub and Research Park,” said Daphne Preuss, Chromatin's CEO. “We believe our team will benefit from the new facilities and the proximity to Chromatin's production facilities as well as the Texas Tech community.”
Chromatin has developed technologies and innovations resulting in a state-of-the-art breeding program as well as collaborations bringing about the latest technological developments in sorghum. Chromatin targets sorghum because it requires fewer nutrients and less water than other crops such as corn and sugarcane, and it can also be grown in more than 80 percent of the world's agricultural land.
The Texas Tech University Innovation Hub and Research Park, being constructed at the corner of Fourth Street and Quaker Avenue, is a $29 million, 40,000-square foot facility that will promote entrepreneurialism, innovation and partnerships between the academic and business communities to further research efforts in a myriad of areas. Texas Tech hopes to attract not only major corporations interested in collaboration but also startup companies resulting from intellectual property developed from university research.
The facility will have both traditional laboratories and computer visualization facilities. Individuals, groups or businesses can lease space in the facility to conduct research, making it separate from the rest of the Texas Tech campus and specifically designed so that outside factors, such as air quality or traffic on nearby streets, will not affect experiments or research being conducted inside.
The building is expected to be finished sometime this summer.
“This is an exciting time for Texas Tech as we extend the reach of our research enterprise to translational research that combines our academic research mission with the commercial applications sought by industry partners to elevate our research profile and generate economic development for the region,” said Lance Nail, dean of the Rawls College of Business and chairman of the research park board of directors.
Michael Galyean, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, said he is excited his students will be able to tap into Chromatin's resources.
“We are very pleased Chromatin will be the initial tenant at the Research Park,” Galyean said. “With increasing pressure on farmers in the region to manage their operations with less water for irrigation, sorghum should become an even more important crop than it already is. The ability of CASNR faculty and students to interact with Chromatin scientists should provide great opportunities to not only improve the crop but also to advance basic and applied science in plant and animal agriculture.”
For more on Chromatin, visit its website.