Duke Leahey

Duke is a Principal Advisor for Larta’s Commercialization Assistance Programs. He brings vast experience in agriculture, cleantech/energy, life sciences, aerospace, and transportation. With over 44 years of experience, Duke focuses his mentorship on those most in need of strategic business planning, alliance development, business modeling, and IP strategy. Duke is also currently President of Life Science Alliances, LLC, a consulting company focused on moving technology from the laboratory into the marketplace. Duke recently help found Plastomics, Inc., a plastid transformation company and he is a co-Founder of Nuogen Pharma Inc., a pharmaceutical company.

He was a founding partner of Nidus Investment Partners, a partnership between Monsanto, Bunge International, and Novozymes, where Duke sourced the technology, led due diligence, and helped found each startup, in which he is instrumental in developing licensing, partnering and intellectual property strategies.

At Nidus, Duke helped found several energy and cleantech companies which specialized in a wide range of technologies, including Electrochaea (CO2 to methane), Xtend Energy (Lithium batteries), GlucanBio (Bioreneable energy and chemicals), AeroValve (Energy-saving pneumatic valves), Thermaquatica (coal to liquid fuels), and NanoGuard (cold plasma).

In addition, Duke has been a consultant to organizations in both the agricultural and pharmaceutical fields, such as Monsanto, Pfizer, BioGenerator, The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, and Nidus Center Incubator. Duke has also invested in a small group of startups in the Midwest and his work has allowed his clients to raise over $100M in equity financing. He also consults with several other cleantech companies including NanoMetallix (nanocomposite solid rocket fuel), and pharmaceutical companies such as Indalo.

Duke has spent over 4 decades in leading technology transfer organizations in companies such as as Monsanto, Pfizer, Washington University in St. Louis, Emerson Electric, and Science Applications Inc., as well as a variety of emerging, technology-based companies. Duke successfully assisted dozens of universities and early stage companies in the negotiations of hundreds of licenses and partnering agreements before he moved into an entrepreneur’s role in 2005, with the founding of LSA, and his role as CEO of Venganza Inc for BioGenerator. Since then, Duke has also served as a board member to several companies. As a St. Louis Biogenerator “Star Award” winning consultant, he helped companies engineer strategic alliances with major agriculture, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical companies.

Duke was formerly a Board Member of Competitive Technologies Inc. (CTT-AMEX), President and Board Member of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), co-Chair of LES University-Industry Committee, Executive Director of the Missouri Biotechnology Association, and co-Founder of the Washington University Masters Program in Biotechnology. Duke was a senior lecturer on strategic partnerships for Arthur Anderson Consulting.

After attending the Air Force Academy, Duke received a BS in Industrial Management from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, and an MA in Business Administration from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri.