California Ag Bioscience Company Relocates Headquarters to Raleigh

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North Carolina’s agricultural bioscience industry – already one of the world’s largest – has gained a new member.

Marrone Bio Innovations, a publicly traded company focused on sustainable bioprotection and plant health solutions, has relocated its corporate headquarters from Davis, Calif., to Raleigh for greater proximity to international markets and access to the region’s talent pool, the company announced in a news release.

“International expansion is a key element of our long-term growth plans, and this move provides us greater proximity to global markets,” said Chief Executive Officer Kevin Helash. “We’re delighted to be part of the rich agricultural technology community in the Research Triangle area and look forward to deepening our relationships with partners and customers based in the area. Given the region’s extensive agricultural focus, we also anticipate tapping into a talent pool of individuals who will be attracted to the growth opportunities Marrone Bio has to offer.”

Kevin Helash
CEO Kevin Helash.

The Raleigh move, begun in late December, mainly affects corporate executive positions. Members of the company’s senior leadership team will relocate to the northwest Raleigh site on Brier Creek Parkway in 2022, said Angela Keyser, senior marketing communications manager. 

“More employees may relocate throughout the year, but it’s at the discretion of the employee and their manager,” she said.

The company is seeking a chief operations officer to be based in Raleigh.

The California site will continue to be the hub for the company’s research and development operations, along with a number of support functions. 

Marrone has about 140 employees and has about 15 job openings posted on its website.

“As we continue to grow globally, we expect additional positions will open or be created in the coming months and years,” Keyser said. Those positions could be based in Davis, Raleigh, a sales territory or in Bangor, Mich., where Marrone has a manufacturing plant.

The company also announced it has expanded its existing inventory line of credit to support the company’s expectations for growth in sales and manufacturing capacity. Under an amended agreement with LSQ Funding Group, Marrone can access as much as $4.5 million to finance inventory needs, up from $3 million under a prior agreement.

“The increase in the line of credit for inventory provides us with greater flexibility to support the company’s commercial expansion in the near future,” said Helash. “This is particularly critical as we enter the peak selling season in our North American markets to ensure we have the ability to provide customers with ready access to our products when they need them.”

Marrone is a growth-oriented agricultural company focused on environmentally sustainable farming practices through the discovery, development and sale of innovative biological products for crop protection, crop health and crop nutrition. Its end markets include row crops; fruits and vegetables; trees, nuts and vines; and greenhouse production.

The company’s 18 commercial products are sold globally and are supported by more than 500 issued and pending patents. Its research and development program uses proprietary technologies to isolate and screen naturally occurring microorganisms and plant extracts to create new products that protect plants from diseases, insects and weeds, promote plant health, improve soil microbiome and enhance plants’ efficient use of water and nutrients. 

Marrone’s relocation to North Carolina adds to an extensive roster of 195 agricultural biotechnology companies that have operations in the state, ranging from small start-up companies to large multi-national companies including Archer Daniels Midland, BASF, Novozymes, Syngenta and Zoetis, according to the North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s company directory. 

"We are thrilled to have Marrone Bio join the North Carolina life sciences ecosystem,” said Katie Stember, Ph.D., associate director of life science economic development for NCBiotech, who assisted Marrone Bio in the relocation. “The company's decision to relocate its HQ operations to Raleigh reinforces that our life sciences community is both diverse and thriving." 

Nandini Mendu, Ph.D., senior director of NCBiotech’s agriculture sector development, who also helped support Marrone’s transition, agreed.

“The relocation of Marrone Bio's operation to the Triangle is an acknowledgement of the area’s strengths in the sectors of biostimulants and biocontrols.  We are excited to add them to the richness and diversity of North Carolina’s ag ecosystem.” 

Barry Teater, NCBiotech Writer
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