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JUNE 14, 2022

Synthetic Vector Designs & Susterco Selected To Join the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator Program

St. Louis, MO – A collaboration effort between Synthetic Vector Designs & Susterco has been selected into the 11th cohort of the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN²). This technology incubator and platform is funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation and co-administered by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

The 11th IN² cohort consists of five sustainable agriculture companies focused on using biological solutions to improve the resilience of global food systems. The Synthetic Vector Designs & Susterco collaboration and the other selected companies will receive up to $250,000 in non-dilutive funding to conduct technical assistance projects at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, Missouri, the world’s largest independent plant science research institute.

“With growing populations coupled with environmental shifts, farmers need technologies that will provide more yield using available resources ultra-efficiently and in the least harmful way,” said Trish Cozart, IN² program manager at NREL. “Agriculture technologies that provide diversified supply as well as resilience from disease play a significant part in securing our future.”

Synthetic Vector Designs is partnering with BioGenerator Ventures-formed company, Susterco, to develop and commercialize its technology. Crop losses due to disease cost farmers more than $220 billion per year. To combat this issue, Synthetic Vector Designs is developing novel methods to facilitate the site-specific transposition of large DNA fragments into selectable target sequences in plant cells to boost disease control. Susterco will identify optimal agricultural use cases and secure commercial channels to realize value in the marketplace.

Synthetic Vector Designs is a resident in BioGenerator Labs, which offers flexible and low-cost access to collaborative lab and office space and state-of-the-art equipment, providing early-stage companies a capital-efficient opportunity to generate technical proof-of-concept in an innovative and collaborative environment populated by scientists, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and investors. 

“This year’s IN² agtech cohort companies are creating new technologies that can help control and mitigate a variety of emerging crop vulnerabilities,” said Elliott Kellner, Senior Program Manager at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. “We're excited to support the development of such a broad range of strategies by a cohort that is so diverse, in terms of commercialization stage and technological approach.”

Launched in 2014, IN²'s portfolio now includes 66 startups in the commercial building, affordable housing and sustainable agriculture spaces. Susterco was nominated to the program by BioGenerator, the startup arm of BioSTL and member of IN²’s nationwide Channel Partner network, which includes more than 60 business incubators, accelerators, and university programs. Synthetic Vector Designs/Susterco underwent an in-depth selection process by Wells Fargo, NREL, the Danforth Center, and IN²’s expert industry advisory board.

About Synthetic Vector Designs, LLC

Synthetic Vector Designs, with facilities in the BioGenerator Labs in St. Louis, Missouri, is developing novel vectors and methods to facilitate the insertion of large fragments of DNA in specific, stable target sites in prokaryotic and eukaryotic host cells without the undesirable alterations commonly observed for many other gene editing and gene insertion systems.  The company is optimizing its systems for use in many fields of synthetic biology, particularly those involved in the development and commercialization of novel food, drug, and industrial products and processes, including the generation of crop plants with beneficial traits, and components of cell and gene therapy vector systems.  For more information, visit us at   

About Susterco LLC

Susterco strives to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change by transforming the food value chain through the advancement of impactful, innovative technologies. Susterco is a team of veteran agriculture executives with a breadth of experience from early R&D to managing billion-dollar commercial organizations. With deep insights, strong relationships, and demonstrated experience in working collaboratively to advance technologies from the laboratory to commercialization, Susterco aims to bring to market multiple transformative technologies.  Visit us at for additional information, and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter @Susterco.

About BioGenerator

BioGenerator, the startup arm of BioSTL, creates and grows innovative St. Louis companies through its two complementary approaches — investing through BioGenerator Ventures and comprehensive startup support through BioGenerator Labs. Visit for additional information, and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter @BioGeneratorSTL.

About the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN²)

The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN²) is a $50 million technology incubator and platform funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation. Co-administered by and housed at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, IN²’s mission is to speed the path to market for early-stage, clean-technology entrepreneurs. Launched in 2014 with an initial focus on supporting scalable solutions to reduce the energy impact of commercial buildings, IN² has since expanded its focus to advance technologies that address the sustainable production of agriculture and housing affordability. Companies selected for participation in the program receive up to $250,000 in non-dilutive funding from Wells Fargo, technical support and validation from experts at NREL and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, and ongoing connections to organizations across value chains. For more information, visit

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