SUNNYVALE, CALIF. — NovoNutrients, a company producing alternative proteins through industrial carbon dioxide fermentation, hydrogen and naturally occurring microbes, has tapped four technology leaders to join its growing team.
Joachim Ritter joins the company as chief technology officer; Kedar Patel has been named senior vice president of biology; Satish Lakhapatri has joined as vice president of engineering; and Bhupendra Soni will become technical director of food.
The company stated it is moving quickly toward commercialization of alternative protein ingredients for use in human and animal food.
“We are now fully positioned to build on our technology foundation and become a leading protein ingredients company, with the addition of these four industry experts,” said David Tze, chief executive officer of NovoNutrients. “Joachim Ritter was Zymergen's vice president of research and technology after two decades at Dupont; Satish Lakhapatri was director of engineering at gas fermentation company, Calysta; Bhupendra Soni was MycoTechnology's vice president of fermentation; and Kedar Patel built and managed the large strain engineering platform team at Zymergen."
Two of the four new hires come from Zymergen, a biotechnology company using genomics, machine learning and automation to create more natural processes, which it coins “biofacturing.”
Ritter, now chief technology officer, most recently served as vice president of research and technology at Zymergen following two decades with Dupont Central Research. He received his undergraduate degree and doctorate from Heidelberg University and conducted post-doctorate research at UC Berkeley.
Patel, now senior vice president of biology, most recently led a team of scientists and engineers at Zymergen, who were tasked with developing and operating a high-throughput platform for DNA assembly and microbe engineering. In his new role with NovoNutrients, he will develop the company’s foundational molecular biology and microbiology capabilities for its core production cell lines. Patel also brings more than 20 years of experience from the synbio industry and has authored more than 20 patents and publications. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Mumbai, followed by a doctorate in chemical engineering from Stanford University.
Lakhapatri, now vice president of engineering, most recently spent four years with Calysta, an industrial biotechnology firm for which he served as director of engineering. With NovoNutrients, Lakhapatri will be tasked with scaling the business, reactor design and process development. His previous career experience includes serving as senior process engineer with Codexis and staff chemical engineer with Siluria Technologies. Lakhapatri has also authored several patents and publications. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai, followed by a doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Toledo.
Soni, now technical director of food at NovoNutrients, has joined the company after leading the food fermentation program for MycoTechnology, where he served as vice president of fermentation for five years. Soni offers more than 30 years of bioscience and fermentation experience to his new role. He has authored 12 approved patents and eight pending ones, several of which involve food protein applications. He has also authored more than 20 publications. Soni earned his doctorate in biochemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi, and went on to receive an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management.
Read more about personnel changes throughout the industry.