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Benson Hill buys Iowa soybean seed company

Benson Hill buys Iowa soybean seed company

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Benson Hill Biosystems already hiring former Monsanto employees

FILE PHOTO: Greenhouse technician Brittany Beisiegel with Benson Hill Biosystems at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in 2016. Benson Hill is one of the companies that the Missouri Technology Corporation invested in. Photo by Laurie Skrivan, lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

Benson Hill Biosystems, a crop technology company based in Creve Coeur, has acquired an Iowa company that produces soybean seed.

Benson Hill says it will use the acquisition of Schillinger Genetics, based in West Des Moines, to develop more nutritious and sustainable soybean varieties using Benson Hill’s gene editing and big-data capabilities.

Schillinger, which also markets its seed as eMerge Genetics, specializes in soybeans that are high in protein and high-yielding but not genetically modified. It will become part of Benson Hill’s seeds and traits business unit.

Benson Hill raised $60 million of capital last year from investors led by GV, the venture-capital arm of Alphabet Inc. In recent months it has signed agreements to use its technology to improve a variety of crops, including cacao for Mars Inc., barley for Anheuser-Busch InBev and hemp for California Hemp.

Benson Hill was founded in Raleigh, N.C., in 2012 but began expanding in the St. Louis area the next year. The St. Louis Economic Development Partnership is expanding its Helix Center incubator in Creve Coeur to accommodate Benson Hill’s growth.

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