Startups / Universities

With move to Baltimore, Vitreon America looks to help grow plant-based research

The botanical research firm is moving to Baltimore, and looking to partner with Morgan State University.

Morgan State University's greenhouse was key to Vitreon's move. (Photo via Twitter)

The connection between research institutions and growing companies is sprouting a new focus on plant-based research in Baltimore.
On Monday, botanical research firm Vitreon America announced that it is relocating to Baltimore from Northern Virginia. The firm’s business model is based on a specialized plant database that it licensed from Dr. James Duke in 2015, and is planning big growth in Baltimore with a lab and research center. The company can assist biopharmaceutical companies as they develop new drugs that utilize plants. In all, the company said it intends to create 200 jobs in the city.
“We’re excited that Vitreon is relocating its global headquarters to Baltimore city,” William H. Cole, CEO of the Baltimore Development Corporation, said in a statement this week. “Potential partnerships with 13 colleges and universities as well as two established bioparks makes Baltimore very attractive to companies in medical, biotechnology, and now botanical research and development.”
The company is moving into a building at 1100 Wicomico St. that houses Harbor Designs, Zest Tea and other companies that demonstrates the city’s future product potential.
But the Pigtown facility is not the only one that spurred interest.
Along with the announcement about Vitreon’s move, the Abell Foundation said it is providing a $352,000 grant to Morgan State University to bring new tech capabilities to its greenhouse.
“We saw this as an opportunity to build on Morgan State University’s strengths in science education and support a new generation of scientists who can leverage the power of plants to secure research funding and create new knowledge,” Abell Foundation President Robert C. Embry, Jr. said in a statement.
Vitreon will also provide its plant-based research capabilities for the greenhouse, and the university hopes more collaboration will follow.

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