Gene-editing leader adds top talent to commercialize rapid growth business lines

ST. PAUL, MN.  Recombinetics (, a St. Paul-based global leader in gene-editing of livestock for food production and human therapeutic applications, is pleased to announce the hiring of Tom Erdmann as General Manager of its agriculture business Acceligen (, and Douglas Kern as General Manager of its biomedicine business, Surrogen (

“I am very excited to welcome Doug Kern and Tom Erdmann to the Recombinetics family to further develop our management depth,” said Ian Friendly, Recombinetics’ Chief Executive Officer. “They both bring deep operating experience as we begin to more fully commercialize our products.“


Tom Erdmann

Erdmann comes to Recombinetics’ Acceligen subsidiary with 35 years of experience in the agriculture and food ingredient industry. His expertise included leading operations, strategy and sales in a variety of executive roles with Cargill’s Food and Trading businesses. In addition, Erdmann was instrumental in developing strategic partnerships and alliances with biotech and food technology organizations. He has engineered numerous customer-centric growth strategies for engaging global food companies.

Erdmann earned a Bachelor of Science with an emphasis in finance and management from Indiana University School of Business, a multi-disciplinary mini-MBA from University of Minnesota’s Management Institute and was a core faculty member of Cargill’s Executive Leadership Development program.

As the General Manager of Acceligen, Erdmann drives the business and commercialization strategy and collaborates with scientists led by Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Tad Sonstegard, an internationally-recognized leader in livestock developmental biology and genetics.

Acceligen has developed and is commercializing first-in-market genetic innovations that improve animal health and welfare and better productivity traits to animal agriculture globally. The patents, filed under Recombinetics, include traits for polled, or genetically dehorned, cattle; thermotolerant (SLICK) cattle; double-muscling; disease resistance and other traits highly-valued by probducers.

“I joined Recombinetics’ Acceligen team because I saw a unique opportunity to take my passion for food and agriculture and work with a group of people who share my desire to have sustainably produced, responsibly grown and healthier animals as part of our food system. Acceligen is at the heart of giving agriculture the tools it needs to feed a hungry planet with less of an environmental impact,” said Erdmann.

Doug Kern

Doug Kern

Kern brings to Recombinetics’ Surrogen subsidiary with more than 20 years of experience in the animal health industry and business development to Surrogen. He has held several executive roles in life science and animal health companies, most recently as Vice President of Global Clinical Development at Plumbline Life Sciences. In the last 15 years, he has developed and registered pioneering DNA therapies for food and companion animals.

Kern earned his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Minnesota, a Master’s Degree at the University of Illinois in Integrated Food Animal Management Systems and a Certificate in Business Management from the Harvard Business School.

As General Manager of Surrogen, Kern will lead the business development and commercialization strategies and team up with its Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. David Lagaespada, a leading authority on animal models for cancer and other diseases.

With patents filed as Recombinetics, Surrogen offers an animal-enabled pathway to find cures to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. Surrogen’s pig models accurately model human diseases and advance research toward human therapeutics. Surrogen partners with the world’s leading Universities; hospitals; researchers; medical device and pharmaceutical companies a safe, reliable and cost-effective model to get new ideas tested and approved for human use.

“Joining Recombinetics’ Surrogen team was a natural fit for me as it fills a life-long goal to work with animals, to insure their highest and best use. The opportunity to participate in groundbreaking genetic research targeting society’s biggest health challenges, is a privilege and responsibility I am honored to be a part of.”

In addition to these key hires, Recombinetics is in the midst of a search for a new Chief Financial Officer, its next critical hire.