VC-backed Vestaron Corp taps Sorenson for CEO

Vestaron Corp. has named Dr. John Sorenson as its CEO. Dr. Sorenson has been the company’s interim CEO since September. Also, Keith Gillard of Pangaea Ventures has been appointed chairman of the board of directors. Based in Kalamazoo, Mich., Vestaron is a producer of pesticides. Its backers include Pangaea Ventures and Open Prairie Ventures.

PRESS RELEASE

KALAMAZOO, MI–(Marketwired – Jan 7, 2014) – Vestaron Corporation, a venture-backed agricultural company, announced today that John Sorenson, Ph.D., has been appointed the company’s Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Sorenson has served as Chairman of the Board since 2011 and has served as its interim CEO since September. Keith Gillard of Pangaea Ventures will assume the chairmanship of the Board of Directors.
“I’m very pleased to move from interim to permanent CEO at a very exciting time in our company’s history. Field trials of our biopesticide have shown very good efficacy, and the development of GMO and synthetic versions of it are progressing exceptionally well. 2014 will see us move from an R&D company to a commercial product company. I couldn’t be prouder of the progress the team has made as we move toward commercialization of our first product,” said Sorenson.
Dr. Sorenson began his career as Assistant and Associate Professor of Genetics at North Carolina State University. He then moved to the Asgrow Seed Company and held positions in biotechnology, research, and eventually became Head of its Global Vegetable Seeds business. Dr. Sorenson then moved to the Sandoz (now Syngenta) seeds business, where he held positions of President of Rogers Seed Company, President of Syngenta Seeds, Inc. (the company’s North American seeds business), and President of Biotechnology for Syngenta. He has served on the Boards of Directors of the American Seed Trade Association, the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association, the National Council of Commercial Plant Breeders, and the American Seed Research Foundation. He has served on the Vestaron Board of Directors since 2008.
Mr. Gillard is General Partner at Pangaea Ventures Ltd., and began his career as an entrepreneur, founding a number of companies before joining Mitsubishi Corporation to establish and manage its Canadian venture capital activities. He later moved to Silicon Valley to become President of BASF Venture Capital America Inc., responsible for the chemical and agricultural giant’s North American venture capital activities. Mr. Gillard joined Pangaea in 2010 and has served on the Vestaron Board of Directors since 2012.
Vestaron is commercializing a new generation of biopesticides using natural peptides originally discovered in spiders. Vestaron’s products have unique modes of action and are highly effective against crop damaging pests, yet have proven harmless to non-target species including humans. Target markets include agriculture, animal health, and specialty non-crop uses such as household insects. Vestaron products are ideally suited for the environmentally conscious 21st century. For more information, visit www.vestaron.com.

 

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