In the 1980s Dr. Raymond Rodriguez, a molecular biologist on the faculty of the University of California – Davis, and his graduate students embarked on an ambitious research program aimed at improving the productivity of rice. He began to develop techniques to “express” medically useful proteins in rice plants, which could be extracted and purified. This technology later became known as “ExpressTec. Ventria Bioscience, originally called Applied Phytologics, was founded in 1993 by Dr. Raymond Rodriguez. With an investment from Dr. William Rutter, the founder and board chairman of the firm Chiron, Dr. Rodriguez opened a lab in Sacramento in 1994. Within a few years the company launched research on around fifteen different medical and industrial proteins, and filed dozens of patent applications. They continued to enhance their core technology, which is a proprietary protein/peptide production system designed to create innovative human health products. Their core technology, ExpressTec, uses self-pollinating crops (rice and barley) as the production host for these products, bypassing many of the technological constraints inherent in other protein production methods. In 2002 Scott Deeter was appointed to Ventria’s board as the new president and CEO. His first task was to narrow down Dr. Rodriguez’s long list of projects to one or two that had the most potential for commercialization. The proteins that were chosen were lactoferrin and lysozyme, which are both found naturally in breast milk. Both of these proteins are said to provide some protection against bacterial gastrointestinal illness. Dr. Rodriguez developed a process for producing these proteins copiously from the grains of genetically modified rice. The company branded its lactoferrin and lysozyme products Lactiva and Lysomin. In mid – July 2004, Ventria Bioscience began testing its bioengineered rice in small testing plots. The company sought to plant at least one hundred and twenty acres of rice in order to begin commercial scale production. In it s efforts to obtain the required permits, Ventria Bioscience has been unsuccessful. They have faced opposition from environmentalists, food safety activists, consumer advocates, and rice farmers. The California Secretary of Agriculture denied the company’s request to plant rice on a commercial scale, leaving Scott Deeter, the president and CEO of Ventria Bioscience, to figure out a plan B.
Ventria Bioscience has become an established company. There are many stakeholders that now have a stake in the actions of this company. Market stakeholders include: employees, stockholders, customers, suppliers, and creditors. All of these groups have a valued interest in the day to day activities at Ventria Bioscience. These groups all have one thing in common; without them, this company would not be making any products or money and therefore would not be in business. It takes each and every one of these groups to help make Ventria be a successful biotechnology company. There employees have interests in maintaining stable employment within the company, receiving fair pay for their work, and working in a safe and comfortable environment. Their source of power comes from their union bargaining power and work actions or strikes. This situation could have drastic impacts on their employees. Ventria’s employees could possibly lose jobs, receive pay cuts, receive less funding, or even receive a cut in their research hours. All of these things could affect the overall moral of the employees. There stockholders interests are to receive satisfactory return on investments and realize the appreciation in stock value over time. The stockholders source of power is in their ability to exercise their voting rights based on share ownership, along with exercising their right to inspect company books and records. The impact of this situation on the company’s stockholders is that their...
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