In March, IngateyGen relocated its operations from Elizabeth City, NC to the Research Triangle Park, NC, connecting us to a new ecosystem with a whole network of incredibly talented people, including entrepreneurs, investors, political leaders, academics, and medical doctors. IngateyGen hired two new scientists, Emily Brooks our Lab Manager/Lab Technician and Ahmed Elsayed, Ph.D. Elsayed a Postdoctoral Researcher.
As a resident company at First Flight Venture Center, we’ve been exposed to many great opportunities from the get-go. Just a week after moving in, Hortense Dodo kicked us off with a fantastic talk (https://lnkd.in/eD98hwDQ) as part of the FFVC’s Itineraries. Later in the spring, we shared our technology and goals with Congresswoman Valerie Foushee and Congressman Wiley Nickel during their visits. Additionally, Hortense participated in FFVC’s Agtech Propeller cohort alongside a handful of other incredible startup founders. She also participated in the Captain Circle program which encourages FFVC resident companies to join a circle of trusted entrepreneurs, treating us with speakers including Dr. Rodolphe Barrangou, renowned CRISPR expert. Lastly, we had the chance to showcase at the third annual High Flyer Award Luncheon alongside the other phenomenal resident companies of First Flight.
This year, we have had the chance to build our networks and showcase our technology at multiple events across North Carolina. In June, the IngateyGen team attended the Purple Tomato event at the NC Biotech Center, celebrating the release of Norfolk Healthy Produce‘s high anthocyanin tomato. In July, Hortense and Emily attended the Defense Technology Summit hosted by DEFTECH at Fayetteville Technical Community College and the Medical Biomedical Biodefense conference. In September, Koffi Konan and Hortense participated in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Connect event at NCA&T in Greensboro. IngateyGen also took part in the Innovation Showcase at NC State’s Climate Change Solutions Conference. In October, Hortense took part in the NC Food Innovation Lab’s pitch contest in Kannapolis and the full IngateyGen team attended the Plant Genome Editing and Genomics Conference in Raleigh where we showcased a poster!
IngateyGen has continued to move forward with improving peanut traits using CRISPR genome editing technology, propelling progress forward for our allergen-reduced peanut, the oil-modified peanut, and the enhanced-protein peanut projects and towards commercialization.
The IngateyGen team is thankful to Ag TechInventures and to each one of its partners, collaborators, consultants, investors, suppliers, and everyone in our network for your contributions and all the growth we experienced in 2023 and we look forward to greater success in 2024!
Dr. Hortense Dodo, Co-Founder and President of Ingateygen, an AgTech startup at FFVCNC whose mission is to deliver allergen-free peanuts, says “North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park is a gold mine which can help accelerate the upward evolution of any company.” Ingateygen recently moved to the area because of the ecosystem at RTP and Dr. Dodo explains why “The sheer number of brilliant entrepreneurs, investors, leaders, academicians, Medical Doctors etc … creates a unique and vibrant ecosystem in which any motivated entrepreneur can thrive and be successful.”
Announcing our inaugural workshop at #PAG31 conference, ‘Accelerating Innovations by Leveraging Startup Ecosystem in Agriculture.’ This exclusive event centers on Agri-startups revolutionizing agriculture with omics and molecular technologies. Our Founder/CEO Rajesh Perianayagam Ph.D. will lead the session.
Join us for an evening of groundbreaking insights with our distinguished speaker Dr. Hortense Dodo, Ph.D., Co-founder/President, IngateyGen LLC, paving the way to discover the future of allergen-reduced peanuts and the pivotal steps in their development at the workshop on January 16, 2024, from 6:20 pm to 8:30 pm in Pacific H-I (2nd Floor) at the Town and Country Resort, San Diego, California, USA.
IngateyGen LLC derives its name from the Akan word, Ngatee, meaning peanut. The Akan language is spoken in what was previously the Ashanti Kingdom which ruled over much of West Africa during the 18th and 19th centuries and is currently spoken in parts of Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, and Benin.
IngateyGen was co-founded by Dr. Hortense Dodo and Dr. Koffi Konan during their tenure at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University (AAMU). At AAMU, the two made huge strides for lowering allergenicity of peanuts using RNAi to suppress production of peanut allergens. One day, following a presentation made on the progress of the allergen-free peanut research, a mother in the audience shared with Dr. Dodo that 6 months prior she had lost her son to peanut allergy. It was a very emotional interaction to say the least, but that day it became clear that the project needed to shift and evolve from academia toward industry for a chance to one day bring an allergen-free peanut to market. Thus, IngateyGen–literally meaning ‘peanut genetics’–was established to specifically work on improving just that.
In 2012, Dr. Dodo left AAMU and headed for Elizabeth City, North Carolina, followed by Dr. Konan a couple of years later, to perform peanut field trials as requested by USDA regulations.
In 2023, IngateyGen relocated to the First Flight Venture Center in the Research Triangle Park. Today, the name continues to reflect Dodo and Konan’s goals of improving peanut traits and eradicating the biggest challenges facing peanut as a crop using innovative molecular techniques.
‘The Purple Tomato: From Lab to Market’ event kicked off with a fantastic presentation from Professor Cathie Martin, introducing the purple tomato and its creation using synthetic biology. Not only does the purple tomato taste delicious and have an extended shelf life, but its rich with antioxidants thanks to high levels of anthocyanin production during fruit ripening! Such an exciting super fruit wasn’t meant to stay confined to an academic research environment, and Jessica Louie and Nathan Pumplin showed us how they were successful in navigating the hurdles along the path to commercializing the purple tomato.
hashtag#Biotechnology is the future of agriculture and it has already begun to change the way we tackle issues facing food security, human nutrition, climate, and more. It was very rewarding to see a biotech-enhanced food product garner such excitement and success first hand! Congratulations to all the people involved in making the hashtag#purpletomato a success!
(P.S. Let us know if you ever want to collaborate to make a purple peanut)
Congressman Wiley Nickel Visit
If we had a nickel for how many times IngateyGen has met with a member of congress since our relocation to First Flight Venture Center, we’d have two nickels! Today we had the pleasure of meeting Freshman United States Representative Wiley Nickel. Congressman Nickel represents North Carolina’s 13th District and he is a member of the House Committee on Financial Services. As a previous small business owner himself, Nickel understands the importance of non-dilutive funding and early stage investors in the growth and success of a company!
During his tour, Congressman Nickel stopped by IngateyGen’s lab for a brief chat with Hortense Dodo about our technology. Here at IngateyGen LLC we are using hashtag#CRISPR gene editing technology to remove allergen proteins from peanuts to develop allergen-free peanut lines. Nickel was excited by how our technology will change the way his children experience school lunches.