Alexandria Agtech/Climate Innovation Acquisition Corp.
- Agriculture, Food, Sustainability, Materials, Infrastructure
Joel S. Marcus, CPA/J.D., our Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors , is Executive Chairman and Founder of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. (NYSE:ARE), the urban office REIT that pioneered life science real estate and today is the preeminent and longest-tenured owner, operator, and developer uniquely focused on collaborative life science, agtech, and technology campuses in AAA innovation cluster locations. Since co-founding the company in 1994 as a garage startup with $19 million in Series A capital, Mr. Marcus led Alexandria to its inclusion as an S&P 500 company, which has a total enterprise value ranking it among the top 10 of all equity REITs (by enterprise value), as well as a total equity capitalization of $24.4 billion and a total shareholder return exceeding 1,900% (assuming reinvestment of dividends) from its IPO through December 31, 2020.
Under Mr. Marcus’s leadership and through Alexandria’s critical role at the vanguard and heart of the life science and agtech ecosystems, the mission-driven company is building the future of life-changing innovation and driving positive change for the benefit of society. Mr. Marcus and the company started developing and operating agtech real estate infrastructure and investing in innovative agtech companies over 20 years ago. Serving as a recent notable example of its agtech infrastructure is the Alexandria Center® for AgTech — Research Triangle, the integrated multi-tenant, amenity-rich agtech R&D and greenhouse campus. Mr. Marcus led the vision and development of the mega campus from concept to thriving ecosystem that today supports a range of companies, from global entities to the emerging companies based at Alexandria LaunchLabs® — AgTech, Alexandria’s unique and proprietary startup platform for high-potential early-stage agtech companies.
As a pioneer, entrepreneur, executive, and venture capitalist, Mr. Marcus has helped form, build, and nurture a broad range of life science and agtech companies. In 1996, he founded Alexandria Venture Investments, the company’s strategic venture capital platform, to invest in promising seed-, early-, and growth-stage life science and agtech companies. Today, Mr. Marcus continues to lead Alexandria Venture Investments, which has been recognized by Silicon Valley Bank as the #1 most active biopharma corporate venture capital investor by new deal volume for four consecutive years. With more than $1.6 billion in carrying value, he leads Alexandria’s investments in transformative companies that are advancing breakthroughs in key agtech areas from production to distribution to consumption, including precision farming, crop protection, gene editing, artificial intelligence, carbon sequestration, food waste reduction, machine learning, the microbiome, indoor vertical farming, and other cutting-edge areas of science. Mr. Marcus represents Alexandria on the boards of the publicly traded Applied Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:APLT), Frequency Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:FREQ), Intra-Cellular Therapies, Inc. (NASDAQ:ITCI), and MeiraGTx Holdings plc (NASDAQ:MGTX). Mr. Marcus also served on the board of Atara Biotherapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATRA) from 2014 to 2019.
In 2017, Mr. Marcus co-founded the Alexandria Summit® — Innovate Ag, which convenes key stakeholders from the agtech ecosystem to shape actionable initiatives aimed at enhancing the resilience and sustainability of the agtech sector, having recognized it as a critical untapped source of opportunity for improving nutrition, ending global hunger, combating climate change, and advancing human health.
Mr. Marcus also leads Alexandria’s far-reaching social responsibility initiatives, which aim to drive forward disruptive and scalable solutions that address society’s most urgent and widespread challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the opioid epidemic, the homelessness crisis, hunger and food insecurity, educational disparities, and climate change. To reverse the trajectory of the opioid crisis, Alexandria partnered with Verily to pioneer OneFifteen, an innovative, evidence-based non-profit recovery ecosystem dedicated to helping people live healthy, addiction-free lives. This meaningful endeavor was featured as the cover story in Real Estate Investment Today magazine’s January/February 2021 issue.
Mr. Marcus was named one of Real Estate Forum’s 2017 Best Bosses in commercial real estate and was a recipient of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Award (Los Angeles — Real Estate). He earned his undergraduate and Juris Doctor degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles. We believe that Mr. Marcus is well qualified to serve on our board due to his extensive experience as an investor in innovative agtech companies and as the Executive Chairman and Founder, and former CEO and Chairman, of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc.
Dean A. Shigenaga, CPA, our President and Chief Financial Officer, has served as President of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. since January 2021 and Chief Financial Officer since December 2004. Mr. Shigenaga led Alexandria’s issuance of $1.9 billion of green bonds over the last three years. Mr. Shigenaga previously served as Executive Vice President from May 2012 to April 2018, as Treasurer from March 2008 to April 2018, and in other capacities from December 2000 to December 2004. Prior to joining Alexandria, Mr. Shigenaga was an Assurance and Advisory Business Services Manager in Ernst & Young LLP’s real estate practice. In his role at Ernst & Young, from 1993 through 2000, Mr. Shigenaga provided assurance and advisory services to several publicly traded REITs, over a dozen private real estate companies, and many other public and private companies. In addition to providing audit and attestation services, he assisted clients with services related to initial public offerings, follow-on offerings, debt offerings, and technical research. Mr. Shigenaga is currently a member of Nareit’s Corporate Governance Council and has served as a member of Nareit’s ESG Task Force. Mr. Shigenaga is a certified public accountant and a member of the American Institute of CPAs. Mr. Shigenaga received his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Southern California.
Jackie B. Clem, J.D., our Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary , is General Counsel and Secretary of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. Since joining Alexandria in 2006, Ms. Clem has overseen a vast array of complex domestic and international transactions, helped to develop and implement protocols and initiatives within the Legal department, and managed the department’s Leasing and Transactions groups. In her role as General Counsel, Ms. Clem leads a team that advises the company on a range of legal matters, including acquisitions and dispositions, construction and development, litigation, investment, compliance, intellectual property, leasing, property management, and joint ventures. She is also key member of the company’s COVID-19 Task Force. Ms. Clem has over 20 years of commercial real estate and related legal experience. Prior to Alexandria, Ms. Clem practiced law in the real estate department of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP in Los Angeles, where she specialized in acquisitions, dispositions, leasing, development, and other commercial real estate transactions and represented a variety of REITs, regional and national developers, retailers, and institutional investors.
Ms. Clem is a member of the State Bar of California and the Los Angeles County Bar Association. Throughout her career, she has been actively involved in a number of community organizations. Ms. Clem helped establish the Pasadena Education Network, a non-profit organization promoting family participation in public education in Pasadena, California, and previously served on the board of the Pasadena Educational Foundation. Ms. Clem received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego and her Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Lynne Zydowsky, Ph.D., our Chief Scientific Officer , is President of Zydowsky Consultants, LLC and an experienced executive in the life science and agtech industries who has been involved in the launching and building of several successful companies. With over 25 years of experience, she has played key roles in business and corporate development, operations, and the early sourcing and financing of private companies in the life science, animal health, and agtech sectors. In addition, Dr. Zydowsky is a long-standing advocate for biomedical research and the advancement of global health.
In 2003, Dr. Zydowsky founded Zydowsky Consultants LLC, offering services to emerging companies working at the intersection of life science and agriculture.
Prior to that, Dr. Zydowsky was the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Renovis, Inc. (now Evotec) and was the first employee and served as Vice President of Pharmaceutical Business Development at Exelixis, Inc. As part of their executive management teams, she contributed to the growth and development of both companies, which led to their initial public offerings.
In 2017, Mr. Joel Marcus and Dr. Zydowsky co-founded Alexandria Summit — Innovate Ag, a neutral, interactive platform that convenes a diverse group of visionary stakeholders for transformative discussions and collaborations that help drive the discovery and development of novel, transformative technology; shapes policy to advance innovation that saves lives and cures disease; and works to improve nutrition and end global hunger, address climate change and sustainability, and advance human health at its most fundamental level.
Dr. Zydowsky currently serves on the Board of Directors for Yumanity Therapeutics (NASDAQ:YMTX); the Board of Directors for the Reagan-Udall Foundation for the FDA; the Board of Trustees for Butler University; and the Discovery Council for Harvard Medical School. From 2018 to 2021, Dr. Zydowsky served on the board of Vindara, Inc., a recently acquired emerging AI-enabled seed genomics platform company revolutionizing the field of indoor farming, for which she was Board Chair.
Dr. Zydowsky also serves as Board Observer for OneFifteen, a non-profit healthcare ecosystem dedicated to the full and sustained recovery of people living with opioid addiction, and is an advisor to Boragen, an emerging company using its boron-based platform technology to transform the fields of animal health and agtech.
Dr. Zydowsky earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry from The Ohio State University and was a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from Butler University.
Monica Rivera Beam, Ph.D., our Chief Investment Officer , has served as Alexandria’s Senior Vice President — Science & Technology since January 2018, co-leading the Science & Technology Team, which includes Alexandria Venture Investments, and supporting Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc.’s west coast real estate expansion and operations by providing scientific expertise and insights on the life science, agtech, and technology sectors. Since joining Alexandria in 2015, Dr. Beam has utilized her deep operations, engineering, scientific, and finance training to help scale Alexandria Venture Investments from both an investment and operations perspective, spanning private investments, public portfolio management, and fund investments. Dr. Beam has led venture capital investments in life science and agtech companies in the areas of therapeutics, enabling technologies, and agricultural and human health diagnostics, many of which have had a successful IPO and/or acquisition. Dr. Beam has served as board member or observer for multiple private life science companies as well as the California Life Sciences Institute.
Prior to joining Alexandria, Dr. Beam was Vice President at Square 1 Bank, where she helped build out its Bay Area Life Science practice, which included traditional life sciences as well as cleantech, agtech, and synthetic biology, and worked closely with early-stage, venture-backed life science companies and venture capitalists to structure, underwrite, and monitor debt transactions. Dr. Beam received her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University, and her Master of Science and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University.
Blake L. Stevens, Ph.D., our Chief Business Officer , has served since 2017 as a Principal on the Science & Technology Team at Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. and Alexandria Venture Investments and the Head of Alexandria LaunchLabs — AgTech, the premier startup platform accelerating the growth of early-stage agtech companies. Dr. Stevens leads agtech venture activities for Alexandria Venture Investments’ portfolio, which encompasses innovative companies in the fields of regenerative agriculture, indoor ag, animal health, automation, genetics, and crop inputs. In the company’s Research Triangle region, Dr. Stevens leads the human health life science venture program and collaborates on strategic real estate projects. As the head of Alexandria LaunchLabs — AgTech, he works closely with LaunchLabs’ member companies on financing strategies and other company-building activities. Dr. Stevens began his investing career at Harris & Harris Group, an early-stage venture fund focused at the time on life science and agtech investing. While at Harris & Harris from 2012 to 2017, he sat on the board of directors of several growing startups and served as interim COO at TARA Biosystems, Inc. Prior to joining Harris & Harris, Dr. Stevens was the seventh employee at HZO, Inc., where he led its R&D, commercialization, intellectual property, and technical business development efforts. He earned degrees in Materials Science and Engineering from Cornell University (B.Sc.) and Northwestern University (Ph.D.) and a Certificate in Management for Scientists and Engineers from Kellogg Business School.
Jeremy A. Lieberman, MBA, our Vice President — Business Development , has served since 2020 as the Vice President of Business Development at Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. and Alexandria Venture Investments, where he leads and works on new businesses initiatives. From 2016 to 2018, Mr. Lieberman was an investment banker in the Power & Utilities group at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Prior to that, he worked in Corporate Development and Operations at MidAmerican Energy/Berkshire Hathaway Energy as a financial analyst focusing on distributed generation initiatives and electric trading budgeting. He began his career working in agriculture and consulting in South America and Africa. He holds a bachelor’s degree in History and a master’s degree in Biotechnology from Columbia University, as well as a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School.
Sara M. Cohen, our Chief of Administration/Operations , is the Executive Director of Strategic Operations & Proprietary Products at Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc., where she leads and contributes to mission-critical operations, pioneering business initiatives, and corporate development. Since joining Alexandria in 2017, Ms. Cohen has had a key role in the strategic planning, opening, and operations of five Alexandria LaunchLabs sites nationally, including Alexandria LaunchLabs — AgTech, the premier startup platform accelerating the growth of early-stage agtech companies, located within the Alexandria Center for AgTech in Research Triangle, a fully integrated, multi-tenant, amenity-rich agtech R&D and greenhouse campus.
Ms. Cohen is also a key contributor to Alexandria Venture Investments’ strategic vision and execution. She leads operations, advisory board management, and strategic logistics for the Alexandria Seed Capital Platform, an innovative funding model led by Alexandria Venture Investments to catalyze early- stage investment in cutting-edge companies. She began her career in strategic planning and operations at Unilever’s flagship Customer Insight & Innovation Center and prior to Alexandria, she worked at the Clinton Global Initiative of the Clinton Foundation from 2016 to 2017. Ms. Cohen received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutgers University, summa cum laude, and had the distinguished honor of speaking at her school’s convocation ceremony.
Our Board of Directors
In addition to Mr. Marcus, at the closing of this offering, our board will be comprised of Ian Howes, MBA/ACA, Roger Kemble, Ph.D., Soren Schroder, and Leshika Samarasinghe, MBA, each of whom is independent.
Ian Howes, MBA/ACA, independent director nominee , has been the Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer at Accelerator Life Science Partners since October 2017. He has over 20 years of experience in senior financial roles developing early stage life sciences companies. Mr. Howes oversees the firm’s financial, legal, and operations functions. He works closely with all Accelerator Life Science Partners I portfolio companies overseeing capital markets activities and providing day-to-day financial and strategic direction. During his career, he has completed numerous rounds of private and public equity and debt transactions, including two initial public offerings. He also has successfully managed multiple M&A transactions for companies where he served as CFO, including the sale of Scioderm to Amicus Therapeutics in 2015 and the sale of Serenex to Pfizer in 2008.
Prior to Accelerator Life Science Partners, Mr. Howes served as CFO of Heart Metabolics, a venture capital backed biopharmaceutical company developing drugs for cardiovascular diseases. Prior to that he served as CFO of Scioderm, a pediatric orphan disease company, where, in 2015, he managed the sale of the company to Amicus Therapeutics (NASDAQ: FOLD). Prior to that, Mr. Howes served as CFO for Akebia Therapeutics (NASDAQ: AKBA), a biotechnology company developing pharmaceutical drugs for anemia and ophthalmology. Before Akebia, Mr. Howes served as CFO and Senior VP of Corporate Development of Serenex, an integrated discovery and development-stage oncology company where, in 2008, he managed the sale of the company to Pfizer. Prior to Serenex, Mr. Howes served as CFO and VP Operations at Paradigm Genetics (Nasdaq: PDGM).
Mr. Howes began his professional career with Coopers & Lybrand in London and is a U.K. Chartered Accountant. He received an MBA from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and Finance from the University of Warwick. We believe that Mr. Howes is well qualified to serve on our board due to his financial expertise and extensive experience developing early stage life sciences companies.
Roger Kemble, Ph.D., independent director nominee , is President of Kemble Advisors LLC and serves on the board of directors and/or advisory boards of AgBiome LLC, AgriMetis LLC, AgTech Accelerator Corp, Boragen Inc. and United Way of Greater Triangle. Dr. Kemble served in a number of leadership roles for Syngenta including President of Syngenta Biotechnology Inc., Global Head of Crop Genetics Research and Global Head of Technology Strategy and Integration from 2002, retiring in 2012. Prior to this, he held management positions at Pioneer Hi-Bred International, a DuPont Company (1991-2002), Allelix Crop Technologies and Allelix Inc. (1983-1991). In parallel he had an academic career as professor at the University of Toronto with an adjunct professorship at the University of Waterloo, after an assistant professorship at Kansas State University. Dr. Kemble conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Florida and the Plant Breeding Institute, Cambridge, UK following receipt of a Ph.D. degree from King's College, University of London. We believe that Dr. Kemble is well qualified to serve on our board due to his deep knowledge of agriculture and extensive leadership experience at various companies in the agtech industry.
Soren Schroder, independent director nominee , has served in a variety of agribusiness leadership roles in the United States and Europe. After working for more than 15 years at Continental Grain and Cargill, he joined Bunge Ltd in 2000. Mr. Schroder served as CEO of Bunge North America, leading Bunge’s business operations in the United States, Canada, and Mexico from 2010 to 2013. In June 2013, he was named CEO and board member of Bunge Ltd, serving in this role until 2019. Mr. Schroder is active in board and advisory roles for emerging companies in the agribusiness and food sectors. Mr. Schroder currently serves on the boards of Tilray, Inc., TeleScience, Inc. and Kultevat Inc. From 2020 to 2021, he served as a member of the board of directors of Vindara Inc., a recently acquired emerging AI-enabled seed genomics platform company. He has Mr. Schroder is a Danish National and earned a BA in Economics from Connecticut College. We believe that Mr. Schroder is well qualified to serve on our board due to his extensive experience in building global supply chains, managing risk, logistics, industrial and value-added activities, and executing on strategy via acquisitions and partnerships on a global scale.
Leshika Samarasinghe, MBA, independent director nominee , is an investor in companies solving problems of import in human, societal, and planetary health. Since 2020, she has served as a Venture Partner at Future Positive, an early stage venture firm investing in purpose-driven companies. From 2015 to 2020, she was a Managing Partner at The Production Board (TPB), an Alphabet-backed venture studio that founds and invests in technology-based companies operating across food, agriculture, health, and life science. At TPB she actively invested in or guided the founding of multiple companies whose work ranged from next generation plant breeding to diabetes-fighting nutritional products, and was an active participant on seven portfolio boards. Previously, she helped lead the agricultural and climate technology practice within Alexandria Venture Investments. Prior to Alexandria, she served in the first Obama administration as a founding team member of the US Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E). She began her career at Google, where she was one of the company's first product hires and helped support engineering strategy for iconic products such as Gmail, Blogger, and mobile search. Leshika holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations with honors from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. We believe that Ms. Samarasinghe is well qualified to serve on our board due to her extensive experience as an investor and advisor for agricultural and climate technology startups and venture firms.