INVAIO SCIENCES LABS

Invaio Sciences Labs is a cutting-edge center of discovery in Cambridge, MA.  Beginning with the understanding of the inner workings of insects to benefit us all, we draw upon a lineage of advancing life sciences to gain a deeper understanding of our relationship with natural systems.
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Invaio Sciences is a multi-platform technology company that unlocks the potential of our planet’s interdependent natural systems to solve pressing agriculture, nutrition & environmental challenges.

We leverage advanced sciences to understand the physiology of insects, and the diverse systems of nature. That understanding of these inner workings gives us a unique angle at reducing the use of pesticides globally.  We leverage that knowledge to develop technology that’s mindful of beneficials, bad for pests, and safer for us all.

Simply, we make discoveries by investigating nature. These results inspire solutions to pressing problems in food, its production, our health and that of the planet.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

BASED IN NATURE

We are rooted in nature. Everything we enhance, create, or change we’ve learned from nature.

STUDENTS OF NATURE

We always stay curious because nature always has something to teach us.

FUTURE OPTIMISTS

We see infinite possibilities in nature. We’re not bound by previous limitations, and thinking of the past.

UNRELENTING INNOVATORS

It’s only by embracing risks that we will actually solve the world’s biggest problems.

EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED

We live outside of category silos. This allows us to reveal the connections that others cannot see.

LENS BEYOND THE HORIZON

Looking at what we do today from the view of tomorrow – to understand true impacts.

OUR LINEAGE

Invaio was founded in 2018 by Flagship Pioneering.  Since the beginning we’ve built a diverse team with world-class capabilities and framed it around multidisciplinary sciences with systems thinking.

Our multi-platform technologies leverage breakthroughs from diverse fields including human therapeutics, agriculture, environmental science, and advanced manufacturing.  We have vast industry experience ranging from agriculture, food systems, engineering, technology, biology, and ecology.

Together, we’re unbounded in our approach, and tireless in our effort to harness the possibilities nature provides to rebuild a flourishing planet where all can thrive. We continue to think long-term and strive to create teams that are greater than the sum of their individual parts.

We set to inspire new ideas, promote experimentation and support highly-motivated individuals for success in taking on some of the biggest problems facing humanity.

LEADERSHIP TEAM

Robert Berendes / Ph.D.

EXECUTIVE

CHAIRMAN

Robert joined Flagship Pioneering in 2014 as an advisory partner and in 2019 became an executive partner. Robert focuses on innovations that address sustainability in the agriculture and nutrition sectors. He currently serves as the chairman of Invaio, Indigo Ag, CiBO Technologies and Inari. Robert’s career has spanned leadership roles in consulting, business development, research & development, and operations. His industry experience draws from previous roles at Proctor & Gamble and Syngenta and consulting experience at McKinsey and a-connect, a global consulting firm headquartered in Switzerland that he co-owns.

Ignacio Martinez /

FOUNDING

PRESIDENT & CEO

Ignacio joined Flagship Pioneering in early 2013 to lead the sustainability activities of the firm. In addition to being CEO & President of Invaio Sciences, Ignacio is co-founder and founding CEO of CiBO Technologies, Inari Agriculture, Senda Biosciences, and founding director at Indigo Agriculture. Prior to joining Flagship, Ignacio was a founding member and managing director of Syngenta Ventures. During his tenure at Syngenta, Ignacio was directly involved in corporate strategy and led multiple venture capital investments in agribusiness, biotechnology, and sustainability companies in Europe, North America, and Latin America.

Gerardo Ramos / Ph.D.

CHIEF

SCIENCE OFFICER

Gerardo joined Flagship Pioneering in 2018 after a long career in the life science industries in various senior R&D roles with Ciba Geigy, Novartis and Syngenta. During the last 10 years he served as the global Head of Crop Protection R&D at Syngenta where he was instrumental in building an unrivaled crop protection chemistry pipeline, a state-of-the-art R&D infrastructure and a world class team.  Gerardo is the author of more than 70 scientific papers and patents. In 2017, he received the Agrow’s Lifetime Achievement Award and was appointed to the Board of the Foundation of the Swiss Chemical Society. Gerardo joined Invaio in 2019 as CSO.

Laura Westby /

HEAD OF LEGAL & IP,

& HUMAN RESOURCES

Laura Westby joined Invaio Sciences as SVP – Legal & IP/ Contracts in June of 2019, and has assumed responsibility as Head of Human Resources.  Prior to joining Invaio, Laura was General Counsel for two tech start-ups: Momenta Partners AG and Close Cross Ltd.  But her true passion is agriculture, having spent 15 years at Syngenta in various roles in the US and Switzerland, culminating in the global position of Associate General Counsel – Crop Protection.  Laura holds a BA in Classics, Psychology and Political Science from Gustavus Adolphus College, and a Juris Doctorate from Mitchell-Hamline School of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota.

Aaron Niederhelman /

HEAD OF MARKETING

BRAND & COMMUNICATIONS

Prior to joining Invaio in November 2019, Niederhelman spent the past decade as an entrepreneur coaxing values through supply chains. Aaron co-founded OneHealthAg to modernize meat supply by harmonizing the interests of producers using elevated standards with brands managing reputational risk tied to sourcing claims. In 2015, an Eisenhower Fellowship program offered insight into supply chains, resource management and water utilization strategies from across Europe and the Middle East.  Prior, Niederhelman was Managing Director & co-founder of the EAF Agrarian Fund – a private equity investment promoting economic growth from well sourced food with regional provenance.

Tom Malvar / Ph.D.

HEAD OF 

DEVELOPMENT

Tom Malvar, Ph.D. has over 25 years of experience developing new biotechnology tools for agriculture that increase farm productivity. His expertise includes the discovery and development of innovative products that allow crops to cope with biotic and abiotic stress. Prior to joining Invaio, Tom served in a number of roles at Monsanto Company including leading the company’s strategy for developing next generation insect control traits and as Director of the Enabling Technology Program where he led a diverse scientific team supporting Monsanto’s biotech product portfolio. Tom is an inventor on over 55 issued patents and holds a Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of New Hampshire.

Peleg Chevion /

HEAD OF 

COMMERCIAL – GLOBAL

Mr. Chevion has spent his career closing gaps in the global agri-food value chain. Prior to joining Invaio in 2020, Peleg was President and Chief Commercial Officer of Blendhub, a global leader in powder-based food and ingredients production. Before Blendhub, Peleg worked with private equity firms focused on consolidation in agri-food. During 2008-2015, Peleg was an executive at Syngenta where he led the Abiotic Stress Management indication across the spectrum of chemical, biological, genetics and digital platforms. Peleg began his career as an officer in the Israeli Air Force, leading aerospace technology projects and later in diverse roles in the Israeli startup ecosystem.  Peleg graduated from the IDF Computer Academy, he holds an LL.B from Tel Aviv University, an MBA from INSEAD and is a licensed Israeli attorney.

Yajie Niu / Ph.D.

HEAD OF

RESEARCH

Yajie is a senior associate at Flagship Pioneering, working as part of a team of entrepreneurial scientists focusing on next generation technologies for sustainability. She has been part of Invaio R&D team since June 2019. At Invaio, Yajie is involved in building biological delivery team to develop the proprietary technologies to address main challenges in agriculture and sustainability.  Before joining Invaio, she worked at Inari Agriculture, another Flagship company. At Inari, Yajie was one of founding members and developed proprietary CRISPR tools for gene modulation. She supported technology intellectual property development and is an inventor on 12 patent applications.

Virginia Ursin / Ph.D.

HEAD OF 

ALLIANCES

Virginia (Ginni) Ursin joined Invaio as Head of External Alliances where she brings her commitment to develop partnerships to accelerate the pace of innovation in agricultural sustainability. Ginni brings over 25 years of experience in the life sciences. Before joining  Invaio, Ginni held a similar role at Indigo Ag, and prior to that, held a number of roles at Monsanto which included leading research programs focused on agricultural sustainability. Ginni holds a PhD in Genetics from the University of California, Davis. She is passionate about agriculture and the real prospects for creating a sustainable global food supply, and is an avid gardener.

Apostolos Klontzaris /

HEAD OF

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT 

In September 2019 Apostolos joined Invaio as head of strategy and business development. Prior, Apostolos spent 20 years with Bayer CropScience AG and Syngenta AG, where he established a strong record in global business development and mergers & acquisitions. Apostolos was also responsible for the management of funds and investments in certain LP portfolio companies through an external venture capital. During his last position as a CEO for Bayer CropScience Greece & Cyprus, he demonstrated exceptional operational and leadership acumen. Apostolos holds a B.Sc. in Agricultural & Biological Sciences, a M.Sc. in Pest Management and an MBA from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K.

Dimitri Verweire / Ph.D.

COMMERCIAL LEAD

EUROPE

Dimitri joined Invaio in February 2020 as head of new business models. He has more than 10 years of experience in strategy, business development and start-ups in Agriculture and Animal and Human Food value chains. He held corporate strategy and hands-on business development roles at Syngenta. Dimitri has gained significant experience in working at the intersection of innovation, business development and marketing in the agricultural and food industry including digital precision farming, crop protection strategy, go-to-market with new business models integrating the full value chain. He holds a PhD in Plant Biotechnology.

Sara Salvador / Ph.D.

HEAD OF RESEARCH &

DEVELOPMENT FUNCTIONS

Sara joined Invaio in July of 2018.  In her role, she works with an exceptional team of scientists to deliver enabling capabilities to advance Invaio’s pipeline of product solutions and platform technologies.  Prior to joining Invaio, Sara spent 15 years at Monsanto in the biotechnology organization building teams and capabilities in high throughput protein engineering, DNA vector design and gene expression discovery and optimization.  Sara holds a PhD in Analytical Chemistry from the University of California, Riverside and is an inventor on 15 issued patents.  She is passionate about working with great people to make a difference in the sustainability and resilience of our planet.

Avram Slovic / Ph.D.

COMMERCIAL LEAD

LATAM

Avram has worked for 13 years in agribusiness and industrial biotechnology across Brazil, Europe, and the United States.  With a background in Biophysics and Synthetic Biology, he led R&D and Commercial teams in global companies including Amyris, Braskem and Indigo Agriculture.  An entrepreneur, Avram co-founded InstaAgro.com in 2015, leader in online sales of Agricultural inputs in Brazil, and Harvest Consulting, helping companies enter the Brazilian agriculture market.  Currently, Avram leads commercial efforts in Latin America at Invaio.  He is author on 5 scientific articles and 11 patents.  In his spare time, he enjoys outdoor sports, gardening and cooking.

Maier Avendano / Ph.D.

HEAD OF

ADAS PLATFORM

Maier is an entrepreneurial scientist with multidisciplinary expertise across different scientific areas, intellectual property, and business strategy. At Invaio, Maier focuses on creating and developing the core platform technologies, keeping an innovation organizational environment, and promoting open innovation that encourages an agile work environment. In 2015, Maier co-founded Sciences Clubs Colombia, a nonprofit educational program whose aim is to make a social transformation based in science & technology. He is the author of several patents & peer review publications. Maier has a Ph.D. from Harvard University, and completed a M.Sc. degree in biological sciences; B.Sc in Microbiology at the Universidad de Los Andes in Colombia.

David Kolesky / Ph.D.

HEAD OF

INVAIO LABS

David is a member of Invaio Labs and an associate at Flagship Pioneering, where he works to create first-in-category companies across sustainability and human health. At Invaio, David focuses on the discovery, design, and delivery of novel molecular solutions for agricultural applications. At Flagship, he was also part of the founding team of Senda Biosciences. Prior to Flagship, David invented 3D bioprinting methods for building human tissues for drug screening and organ replacement. He was recognized for this work as the winner of 2016 National Collegiate Inventor Competition.  David holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University in Engineering Sciences and a B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Florida.

Hok Hei Tam / Ph.D.

HEAD OF

DIGITAL

Hok Hei is a member of Invaio Labs and a senior associate at Flagship Pioneering where he has been part of a team of entrepreneurial scientists focusing on next generation technologies for sustainability and human health since 2017. At Invaio, Hok Hei is focused on using machine learning and other digital technologies to discover innovative nature-based products. He was also part of the founding teams of Senda Biosciences and Inari Agriculture. Hok Hei holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from MIT and is an inventor on 11 patent applications.

Umberto Torresan /

COMMERCIAL LEAD

UNITED STATES

Umberto has worked in strategic marketing, business development and corporate development for various corporations such as Corteva, DuPont de Nemours, Honeywell International, Dow Chemical and AT&T (then SBC). He has also prior entrepreneurial experience having co-founded a financial advisory firm in New York in the early 2000s. Umberto holds a MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, a MA in Journalism and Public Affairs from the American University in Washington, DC and a BA in Linguistics from the Universita’ Cattolica of Milan, Italy.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Dr. Pietro Antonio Tataranni

CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER 

@ PepsiCo

Dr. Pietro Antonio Tataranni is Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President, R&D Life Sciences at PepsiCo. Since joining PepsiCo in September 2018, Dr. Tataranni has been responsible for driving the company’s nutrition and bio-sciences strategy, and providing expert scientific advice and counsel to help enable disruptive product innovations for consumers in line with PepsiCo’s Winning with Purpose agenda. Prior to joining PepsiCo, Dr. Tataranni was Senior Vice President, Global Medical Affairs at Sanofi, charged with leading the medical strategy worldwide and operations in major markets for key therapeutic areas. He is a clinician, scientist and industry physician with a well-established track record of delivering high impact results for diverse organizations.

Ena Cratsenburg

CHIEF BUSINESS OFFICER

@ Ginkgo Bioworks

Ena Cratsenburg is the Chief Business Officer at Ginkgo Bioworks.  Cratsenburg oversees new business partnerships and commercialization of Ginkgo’s technology and products to advance Ginkgo’s mission to make biology easier to engineer.  During her career in the field of synthetic biology, Cratsenburg has held numerous executive leadership positions commercializing emerging technologies in cosmetics, flavors and fragrances, food and beverage, nutritional health markets, and biofuels for well renowned companies like Intrexon, Evolva and Amyris. Prior to biotech, Cratsenburg held various management and Business Development roles at Pixar Animation Studios and BP P.L.C.

Dr. Iya Khalil

GLOBAL HEAD OF AI INNOVATION CENTER

@ Novartis

Dr. Iya Khalil is Global Head of the AI Innovation Center at Novartis.  A collaboration between Novartis & Microsoft, through the lab Dr. Khalil aims to bolster AI capabilities to accelerate discoveries and the development of transformative medicines for patients worldwide.  Dr. Khalil is well known as a technology entrepreneur and physicist with a vision of transforming medicine into a discipline that is quantitative, predictive, and patient-centric via artificial intelligence and machine learning approaches. She co-founded two big data companies, Gene Network Sciences and GNS Healthcare, and is the co-inventor of the proprietary computational engine that underpins both entities. Dr. Khalil was named to the PharmaVOICE 100 list of the most inspiring people in the life sciences industry.

Robert Berendes / Ph.D.

EXECUTIVE

CHAIRMAN

Robert joined Flagship Pioneering in 2014 as an advisory partner and in 2019 became an executive partner. Robert focuses on innovations that address sustainability in the agriculture and nutrition sectors. He currently serves as the chairman of Invaio, Indigo Ag, CiBO Technologies and Inari. Robert’s career has spanned leadership roles in consulting, business development, research & development, and operations. His industry experience draws from previous roles at Proctor & Gamble and Syngenta and consulting experience at McKinsey and a-connect, a global consulting firm headquartered in Switzerland that he co-owns.

Ignacio Martinez /

FOUNDING

PRESIDENT & CEO

Ignacio joined Flagship Pioneering in early 2013 to lead the sustainability activities of the firm. In addition to being CEO & President of Invaio Sciences, Ignacio is co-founder and founding CEO of CiBO Technologies, Inari Agriculture, Senda Biosciences, and founding director at Indigo Agriculture. Prior to joining Flagship, Ignacio was a founding member and managing director of Syngenta Ventures. During his tenure at Syngenta, Ignacio was directly involved in corporate strategy and led multiple venture capital investments in agribusiness, biotechnology, and sustainability companies in Europe, North America, and Latin America.

Gerardo Ramos / Ph.D.

CHIEF

SCIENCE OFFICER

Gerardo joined Flagship Pioneering in 2018 after a long career in the life science industries in various senior R&D roles with Ciba Geigy, Novartis and Syngenta. During the last 10 years he served as the global Head of Crop Protection R&D at Syngenta where he was instrumental in building an unrivaled crop protection chemistry pipeline, a state-of-the-art R&D infrastructure and a world class team.  Gerardo is the author of more than 70 scientific papers and patents. In 2017, he received the Agrow’s Lifetime Achievement Award and was appointed to the Board of the Foundation of the Swiss Chemical Society. Gerardo joined Invaio in 2019 as CSO.

Who We Are In Short

At Invaio, we believe in order to change the world for the better we must invest in top talent.  As you’ll see to the right – we’ve focused on building out a top-notch development team set on evolving status quo.  We continue to think long-term and strive to create teams that are greater than the sum of their parts. We set to inspire new ideas, promote experimentation and support highly-motivated individuals for success in taking on some of  the biggest problems facing humanity.

Careers Page

RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

68%

CORPORATE & LEGAL

13%

BUSINESS & DEVELOPMENT TEAM

12%

OTHER TEAM MEMBERS

6%
60

SCIENTISTS ON

INVAIO STAFF

100

PATENTS

FILED

14

KEY STRATEGIC

RELATIONSHIPS

4

GLOBAL OFFICE

LOCATIONS

A PIONEERING SPIRIT

It’s the discoveries about our relationships with systems that surround us that will amaze us in the future. Seemingly, it’s our practices in coexisting in those worlds and managing relationships with different elements of nature which will stabilize food systems and address the climate crisis.

Ultimately, we can fix this.  We can stabilize the planet by focusing first on these different natural elements and harmonizing with biological systems. By working on these relationships that impact us the most, as with insects, aspects like how we feed ourselves and how we deal with our waste stream will lead to broader discoveries where nature will teach us the way to greater and prosperous practices of refinement.

Invaio Sciences has spawned out of the Flagship Pioneering business ecosystem. Flagship Pioneering conceives, creates, resources, and develops first-in-category life sciences companies to transform human health and sustainability. Steeped in world class scientists and professionals, Flagship Pioneering seeks to improve the human condition.

Since its launch in 2000, the firm has applied a unique, hypothesis-driven innovation process to originate and foster more than 100 scientific ventures, resulting in over $30 billion in aggregate value. To date, Flagship is backed by >$3 billion of aggregate capital commitments, of which over $1.5 billion has been deployed toward the founding and growth of its pioneering companies alongside >$10 billion of follow-on investments from other institutions.

ECOSYSTEM EMPLOYEES

3000

SQ. FT. OF LABS

1300000

COMPANIES FOUNDED

100

ACRES PLANTED

1000000

"A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people."

- FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT

"Deforestation is changing our climate, harming people and the natural world. We must, and can, reverse this trend."

- JANE GOODALL

"The environment is where we all meet; where we all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share."

- LADY BIRD JOHNSON

OUR BELIEFS

Nature is misunderstood. Dismissed as limited when in fact it is infinite. Today, through modern technology we’re more empowered than ever to understand the true power of nature.  At Invaio, we believe we can progress humanity through a deeper understanding of nature.  We believe the solutions are based within nature; cloaked in the systems that surround us. 

Today we have the tools at our disposal to understand it, and unlock it – allowing us to return to a more balanced relationship.

The Planet isn’t dying; she is full of life. Only by seeing ourselves as part of nature and connecting with those relationships that sustain us – can we preserve what is truly under threat – our Humanity.