Skip to content

Danforth Technology Company (DTC) facilitates creation and investment in startups based on promising technologies developed by Danforth Center scientists. In moving scientific discoveries from the Danforth Center to the marketplace, DTC is helping shape the 39 North AgTech Innovation District as a leading environment for agtech startups, established companies, and entrepreneurs.

"The Danforth Center is a hotbed of innovation and creativity in plant science. The Danforth Technology Company (DTC) is the mechanism to quickly and effectively commercialize great technologies discovered at Danforth Center. DTC provides a unique opportunity for scientists and entrepreneurs to collaborate. It is not easy to develop and launch a successful agtech startup, and the 39 North ecosystem creates optimal conditions for nascent companies to thrive. In my experience there are very few places that combine world-class science with the tools necessary to spin out viable startups like the Danforth Center."

Tom Laurita, CEO

The Partnership with the
Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

DTC draws from the brightest talent and some of the most innovative plant science research laboratories in the world. At the Danforth Plant Science Center, 31 scientific teams are working in state-of-the-art facilities to create solutions to some of the most pressing challenges in agriculture today.


scientific teams with


funded projects


core facilities

140 acre

field research site


annual operating budget


startups launched by faculty

DTC Leadership


Tom Laurita


Tom Laurita is CEO of the Danforth Technology Company. He is an entrepreneur with over 30 years experience bringing early technologies through development to market and to exit.

Tom was CEO of DTC startup Peptyde Bio, which was acquired by Invaio in 2023. He also co-founded and was CEO of STL-based NewLeaf Symbiotics, one of the most successful US Ag Biotech companies. Tom led Monsanto’s USSR business and co-founded Vitas Corporation.

Tom holds degrees from Brown University (magna cum laude), Yale School of Management (MPPM), and the Russian Peoples’ Friendship University (PhD).


Hal Davies


Hal Davies is the chief operating officer and VP for finance at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. He has over 30 years of experience in accounting and financial management. Hal joined the Danforth Center in 2001 after working as the corporate controller of the Alper Ink Group and as the director of financial planning and analysis for Huttig Distribution. He worked previously as a CPA for Deloitte in both St. Louis and in their executive offices in New York.

Hal holds a bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Missouri - St. Louis and an MBA with honors from Washington University in St. Louis. He is a past president of the St Louis Chapter of Financial Executives International.


John Ahn

Business Development Director

As Business Development Director, John brings his expertise in technology commercialization and partnership management and his passion for innovation and bringing new technologies to market to the DTC. John has led the development of new technologies for chemicals and crop protection businesses. He has served in various senior business and technical capacities for profit and nonprofit companies and led licensing and business development, working with start-ups and large multinational companies around the world.

John holds an MBA from INSEAD, a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Technical University of Munich, and a MS from the University of California, Berkeley.

Stay Updated

"*" indicates required fields