A leading global plant science company has selected St. Louis to be the home of its new North American research facility, Gov. Jay Nixon announced. The Governor joined company officials of KWS, leaders from the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, and local economic development partners at the BioResearch and Development and Growth (BRDG) Park to announce the nearly $13.7 million capital investment by KWS that is expected to create 75 high-paying jobs in the next three to five years.
“When we first developed Missouri’s Strategic Initiative for Economic Growth in 2010, we recognized that supporting the bioscience industry would be vital to the future of our economy,” Gov. Nixon said. “Since then, we have seen tremendous growth in this industry as more and more bioscience companies are choosing to make their home in Missouri, strengthening the state’s reputation as a bioscience powerhouse. I welcome KWS to the Show-Me State and look forward to building on this success.”
KWS, headquartered in Germany, has been breeding crops for temperate climates for more than 150 years. The company provides seed cultivation of sugar beets, corn, grains, feed, oil and protein plants, vegetables and potatoes and related activities. KWS has more than 4,400 employees in 70 countries.
“With the establishment of the KWS Gateway Research Center we are now present in two of the world’s prime locations for plant research: USA and Germany. Located in the BRDG Park, in the middle of a cluster of universities, institutes and startups, the planned new facility is scheduled to strengthen the position of KWS in global plant research, offering proximity to one of the key markets and major centers of excellence in plant research,” said Léon Broers, KWS Member of the Executive Board responsible for research and breeding. “This will be supported by existing facilities in the BRDG Park as well as by an excellent infrastructure and a top-quality science platform.”
In Missouri, KWS will operate in the Danforth Center’s BRDG Park. The company will immediately begin the process to renovate 19,150 square feet of the BRDG Park’s Building One to fit custom lab and office space. Adjacent to Building One, the company will also construct a dedicated greenhouse complex to conduct research and development. Over the next few years, KWS will hire a team of at least 75 research and administrative personnel.
The state’s robust bioscience industry, comprised of more than 4,000 agribusiness and life science companies, is fueled by a growing workforce and rich agricultural history. Missouri’s nationally acclaimed institutions of higher education provide Missouri with the largest concentration of plant scientists, with 40 of the state’s colleges and universities offering bachelor’s degrees or higher in biological or biomedical science. Additionally, Missouri ranks second in the number of farms in the U.S., providing plant science companies with easy access to suppliers and customers.
To assist KWS with its expansion to St. Louis, the Missouri Department of Economic Development has offered a strategic economic incentive package that the company can receive if it meets strict job creation and investment criteria. The St. Louis Economic Partnership and the St. Louis Regional Chamber also partnered with KWS to help make its expansion possible.