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Pluton Biosciences Selected for Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator

St. Louis - May 21, 2020

Pluton to test technology that will optimize pest control with

Danforth Plant Science Center and the National Renewable Energy Lab

(St. Louis, MO, May 21, 2020) The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2), a technology incubator and platform funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation and co-administered by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), today announced that it has selected Pluton Biosciences to join the program as a member of IN2’s seventh cohort.

The selected companies share a focus on developing technologies that support the agricultural sector while reducing environmental impact.

Headquartered in St. Louis, MO, Pluton Biosciences discovers new beneficial microbes in the soil for use in sustainable, natural products. Pluton used its high-throughput microbial discovery platform called Micromining® to discover ten new strains of bacteria with insecticidal properties. Some of these strains are especially effective against mosquitoes that carry such deadly infectious diseases as Malaria, Zika, Dengue, West Nile, and Yellow Fever.

“The resources available to us through the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator include the use of High-Performance Liquid Chromatography. This technology will allow our scientists to better understand the effective chemistry behind our novel insecticidal discovery,” said Pluton CEO Charlie Walch.

Pluton CSO Dr. Barry Goldman added, “Pluton is excited about the opportunity to work with the Danforth Center as part of IN2 to advance our technology. It’s a great validation of our team’s work. We believe this unique accelerator program will help to bring our eco-friendly, natural products to market sooner.”

Agtech investing has shown great promise even with current economic uncertainties. A recent market analysis predicts investment dollars to reach $6.9 billion this year, doubling since $3.4 billion in 2017. The IN2 program expanded its focus to agtech in 2018 to address the growing impact of the agricultural sector on carbon emissions.

“On average, agriculture accounts for nearly 13 percent of global carbon emissions,” said Ramsay Huntley, Sustainable Finance Strategist at Wells Fargo. “IN2 is uniquely positioned to reduce the environmental impact of food production by validating promising, early-stage, clean agricultural technologies and accelerating their respective paths to commercialization.”

Pluton Biosciences will conduct research and development activities at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, a program partner and the world’s largest independent plant science institute. The company will receive up to $250,000 in technical assistance with the opportunity for follow-on funding, and access to state-of-the-art expertise and resources from the Danforth Center, Wells Fargo, NREL and other IN2 partners.

“The companies selected for Cohort 7 provide a window into the next chapter of agriculture. Their technologies are hyper-focused on optimizing efficiencies and scaling sustainable agricultural practices in order to feed a growing population,” said Trish Cozart, IN2 program manager at NREL. “Our partners at Danforth are at the intersection of science, innovation and commercialization, and we’re pleased to connect their deep domain expertise and robust research capabilities with startup innovations.”

Pluton was first nominated by an IN2 Channel Partner––part of a nationwide network of more than 60 cleantech and agtech business incubators, accelerators, universities and industry experts—before undergoing in-depth review by Wells Fargo, the Danforth Center and IN2’s expert industry advisory board.

About Pluton Biosciences

Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, Pluton Biosciences researches and mines beneficial microbes in the soil for use in sustainable bioproducts across a variety of industries, including pesticide, agriculture, pharmaceutical, and bioremediation. Pluton’s Micromining platform targets new microbial solutions quickly and inexpensively, speeding the introduction of novel natural products through the research and development pipeline to market. For more information about Pluton Biosciences, visit www.plutonbio.com.

About the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2)

The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) is a $30 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 in2ecosystem.com.

About Wells Fargo

Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) provides banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through 7,500 locations, more than 13,000 ATMs, and the internet (wellsfargo.com). With approximately 261,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. With its corporate philanthropy, Wells Fargo aims to pave a path to stability and financial success for underserved communities by focusing on housing affordability, small business growth, and financial health, among other local community needs. In 2018, Wells Fargo donated $444 million to nearly 11,000 nonprofits. For 10 consecutive years, Wells Fargo has held the honor of No. 1 in workplace giving by United Way Worldwide. Wells Fargo team members also actively support communities by donating more than 2 million hours of volunteer time in the last year. News, insights and more information on the company’s overall corporate responsibility are available at Wells Fargo Stories and www.wellsfargo.com/impact.