Health and wellness industry veteran will lead the company to scale sustainable bioactives using plant cell technology instead of agriculture
BOSTON, Aug. 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Ayana Bio, the plant cell technology company making sustainable bioactives for consumer products, today announced the appointment of Frank Jaksch as the company's chief executive officer. Jaksch founded, was the longtime CEO and presently serves as Board Chair of health and wellness company ChromaDex, manufacturer of popular NAD product, Tru Niagen (Nasdaq: CDXC).
Ayana Bio launched in September 2021 as a Ginkgo Bioworks (NYSE: DNA) platform venture and uses proprietary plant cell technology rather than agricultural production to create plant bioactives for human nutrition, thus overcoming challenges in the current ingredient supply chain. Some of the most important and potent health bioactives come from plants and can only be produced through agriculture or foraging. Climate volatility and limited natural resources lead to shortcuts on purity, safety, and sustainability. The health and wellness consumer products industry needs new forms of production to tap into sustainable plant bioactives at scale.
"Through my decades in the natural products world, I've experienced how sourcing botanical ingredients from the wild or agriculture is not sustainable," said Jaksch. "Supply chain issues have impacted the botanicals industry for years, and more recently this year, war and climate change driven weather events have made it worse. As a result, product quality and consumer trust has suffered. Plant cell technology will revolutionize how the industry sources our most beneficial plant bioactives, and Ayana Bio can make these powerful ingredients more accessible to the world."
Ayana Bio's plant cell technology product pipeline includes bioactive compounds from ginseng, berries, cocoa, ginger and other high-value botanicals. Through its partnership with Ginkgo Bioworks, Ayana Bio can rapidly analyze its plant cell library to identify superior cell lines. From there, Ayana Bio grows and scales the cell lines using standardized cultivation methods in stainless steel tanks. The technology yields plant biomass with the identical molecular makeup of the plants found in nature—produced without the land, irrigation, fertilizers or pesticides required by agriculture. It also solves the standardization problems plaguing all agriculture-based supply chains and provides climate change resilience while protecting natural ecosystems and biodiversity.
"Synthetic biology has incredible potential to support human and environmental health, and we're proud to enable innovators like the Ayana Bio team to launch on Ginkgo's platform. Frank's understanding of where to apply plant cellular technology to fill unmet needs in nutrition and complementary medicine coupled with Ginkgo's platform for cell engineering has the power to transform the category," said Jason Kelly, CEO of Ginkgo Bioworks.
"Extraction from agriculture is the past; ingredient cultivation is the future," said Effendi Leonard, Ayana Bio's co-founder and chief technology officer. "We rely on plant-derived molecules for many things in our daily lives, and Ayana Bio's mission to democratize plant bioactives without agriculture limitation is not an easy feat. Ayana Bio is uniquely positioned to be able to leverage the most advanced life science technology, computation, and cellular cultivation all under one roof to bring Ayana Bio's mission to fruition."
Jaksch has more than 25 years in life sciences and food, beverage, and dietary supplement consumer products, building dietary supplement and food ingredient company ChromaDex from the ground up and taking the company public on Nasdaq. Jaksch sits on the board of directors for the Natural Products Association and is a recognized global expert on natural products chemistry, longevity and healthspan.
Ayana Bio launched in 2021 with $30 million in Series A funding provided by Viking Global Investors and Cascade Investment. Ayana Bio was launched in collaboration with Ginkgo Bioworks, the premier horizontal platform for cell programming, and with Ferment, the company creation studio that helps ideate and launch new companies that use cell programming to support human and environmental health and well-being.
About Ayana Bio
Ayana Bio makes sustainable bioactives for health and wellness products using plant cell cultivation rather than agriculture. Ayana Bio collaborates with global industry leaders in consumer packaged goods brands, supplements, specialized nutrition, over the counter, and traditional medicines to create standardized bioactives that give consumers confidence in quality and reliability—while preserving the planet. There's no better way to produce what comes from plants than using plant cells. For more information, visit www.ayanabio.com.
About Ginkgo Bioworks
Ginkgo is building a platform to enable customers to program cells as easily as we can program computers. The company's platform is enabling biotechnology applications across diverse markets, from food and agriculture to industrial chemicals to pharmaceuticals. Ginkgo has also actively supported a number of COVID-19 response efforts, including K-12 pooled testing, vaccine manufacturing optimization and therapeutics discovery. For more information, visit www.ginkgobioworks.com.
Ferment is a company creation studio for the next wave of synthetic biology product companies. Ferment companies are powered by Ginkgo Bioworks, the world's most advanced platform for cell programming. Learn more at www.Ferment.co.
SOURCE Ayana Bio