News & Insights

NewLeaf Symbiotics Names Chief Product Officer and Chief Technology Officer

Expanded Leadership Team Focused on Innovation to Help Transform Agriculture

St. Louis, MO, February 5, 2019– NewLeaf Symbiotics, a company dedicated to sustainable agriculture and singularly focused on beneficial microbes known as M-trophs, announces two strategic appointments. Desmond R. Jimenez, Ph.D., Vice President Product Development and Manufacturing is named Chief Product Officer. Janne Kerovuo, Ph.D., Vice President, Research & Discovery is named Chief Technology Officer.

Dr. Desmond Jimenez joined NewLeaf in 2014. He led the successful development of four NewLeaf Technology products. Each product contains a different beneficial microbe (M-trophs) that makes crops stronger and more tolerant of stress. Des is a leader in the agricultural biologicals industry, with over 30 years experience, including leadership roles at Bayer, AgraQuest Inc. and Novo Nordisk. He is credited with the development of Bacillus-based biopesticides and feed additives.  He holds a Ph.D. in Food Science and Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of Arizona.

“Des continues to lead our efforts at NLS, helping growers and agriculture become more sustainable with innovative products,” said Tom Laurita, CEO. “As the need to improve agriculture becomes increasingly complex, NewLeaf is positioned to achieve the full potential of M-trophs under Des’ direction.”

“As a passionate and tenacious scientist, I am honored to serve as Chief Product Officer at NewLeaf,” said Jimenez. “I believe that M-trophs have the potential to make step change improvements in the agricultural ecosystem system and that we can deliver these opportunities around the world.”

Dr. Janne Kerovuo joined NewLeaf in 2016 and re-designed NewLeaf’s Research and Discovery screening pipeline. He led the optimization of the Prescriptive Biologicals Knowledgebase®, a state of the art computational bioinformatics engine identifying the best wild-type M-trophs to productize, helping growers increase yield and overcome biotic and abiotic stress while reducing environmental impact.  Kerovuo also leads NewLeaf’s Scientific Advisory Board.  He previously held leadership positions at Monsanto, Agradis, Synthetic Genomics and Diversa. He earned a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from University of Helsinki in his native Finland.

“Years of research at NewLeaf have convinced us that M-trophs will transform agriculture. That’s why it is so important to have Janne in this role, to drive our singular focus on this new class of agricultural inputs to help farmers and growers find solutions to their biggest challenges,.” said Laurita.

“I joined NewLeaf because I strongly believe there’s incredible potential within this family of microbes that has been co-evolving with plants for millions of years,” said Kerovuo. “In my new role, I can reinforce our commitment to fully exploring M-trophs and their role in sustainable agriculture.”

About NewLeaf Symbiotics

NewLeaf Symbiotics is an agricultural technology company engaged in discovery, development, production, and commercialization of products containing beneficial plant microbes (M-trophs). NewLeaf’s family of products help farmers increase yield by promoting stronger plants and better nutrient uptake, ultimately contributing to the transformation of agriculture towards a more sustainable future. Its 40+member team is based in BRDG Park at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, MO. Visit NewLeaf Symbiotics at

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