Pluton Biosciences Promotes Brian Throm to Head of Business Development, Hires Ben Wolf, PhD as Lead Scientist on Bayer Project
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Pluton Biosciences is proud to announce the promotion of Brian Throm to Head of Business Development and the hiring of Lead Scientist Ben Wolf, PhD as Project Lead on its carbon sequestration venture with Bayer AG.
Launched in 2017, St. Louis-based Pluton Biosciences is a natural product development company dedicated to discovering new microbes in the soil to drive environmental sustainability practices worldwide. Pluton’s current product efforts focus on agriculture, using microbes to fight climate change and replacing synthetic chemical applications with eco-friendly microbial products.
Brian Throm, Head of Business Development
Pluton hired Throm in 2019 as a Consulting Business Analyst before promoting him to Executive Assistant/Operations Manager, then Head of Business Development. Throm has a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering from the University of Missouri where he was named an MU Innovation Center Entrepreneurial Scholar. Before joining Pluton, Throm worked as a Global Emerging Markets Analyst Intern for Monsanto Growth Ventures.
In his new role, Throm is responsible for aligning Pluton’s technical goals with its business goals to ensure efficient use of capital and long-term value generation. He also ensures that Pluton’s scientific activities lead to assets of commercial value, as well as provides business analysis to evaluate various scientific approaches for optimal business outcomes.
“I am working towards setting up Pluton for a successful Series A raise by the end of the year,” said Throm. “To that end, I am responsible for investor relations, which includes the identification and evaluation of possible investors in our startup. My goal is to clearly show investors how Pluton creates valuable commercial assets and is poised to become the next biotech unicorn.”
Ben Wolf, PhD, Lead Scientist
Wolf is Pluton’s Lead Scientist on a collaboration project with global life sciences company Bayer AG. Pluton signed a research agreement in March with Bayer to investigate the development of an all-natural, microbial-based carbon-capture soil amendment for growers.
Pluton’s proof-of-concept research predicts that a consortium of microbes, applied in a spray at planting and harvest, can scrub nearly two tons of carbon from the air per acre of farmland per year, while replenishing nutrients in the soil.
“As the Project Lead on the carbon sequestration and nitrogen fixation project, I am working to isolate new microbial strains and interacting communities that can reduce the climate impact of our agriculture system in the U.S.,” said Wolf. “This involves the design and construction of new culturing setups in the lab to create the specific conditions I need to isolate these microbes, testing and characterizing the microbes and microbial communities I culture from natural soils, and developing useful microbial products from these.”
Wolf has a PhD in Plant and Microbial Biosciences from Washington University in St. Louis where he studied in the lab of Prof. Robert E. Blankenship how novel microbes utilize far-red light to power oxygenic photosynthesis. He also has a Bachelor of Science in Plant Biology with a Specialization in Environmental Studies from Michigan State University.
In addition to his work with Pluton, Wolf is co-founder of horticultural technology company Engine 2 Photonics, LLC.