Ellen M. Brune, PhD – Chief Executive Officer

Co-inventor of the Lotus platform technology which has resulted in 3 US patents and six pending applications in the US, Europe, and Canada. Dr. Brune has received over $1M in research grants from the National Science Foundation and the Arkansas Biosciences Institute.


  • Lean Startup training at Stanford
  • National Science FOundation (NSF) I-Corps grant that provided $50,000 worth of marketing and operations funding
  • PhD in Chemical Engineering with a focus in Bioprocessing at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville
  • Graduate Entrepreneurship Certification Program
  • Doctoral Academy Fellow at the University of Arkansas

Ricky Draehn, MBA, PE – Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Draehn brings 30+ years of experience in the food and beverage industry to BMB, providing a strong foundation of industry experience.


  • Manages $100M of capital investments per year and ensures food safety and quality in compliance with FDA/USDA requirements and GMP for ConAgra foods.
  • Working in fermentation control and yeast propagation at Anheuser-Busch, designed aseptic processes for yeast propagation, fermentation and beer filling.
  • Designed, installed and operated systems to undergo FDA inspections and BATFE certification.
  • While technical lead for mergers and acquisitions by Anheuser-Busch Inc., reported to the Chief Supply Chain Officer.
  • Negotiated with government officials in more than 15 different countries and interfaced with board members of acquired companies.
  • Responsible for ensuring that capital investments and ongoing operations met good manufacturing practices (GMP) of countries such as, China, India, the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia and the United States.
  • MBA with a focus in Accounting at Creighton University in Omaha, NE.
  • Licensed Professional Engineer

McKinzie Fruchtl, PhD – Director of Research and Development

Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering with a focus in Optimization of Fermentation Processes at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.


  • Doctoral Academy Fellow at the University of Arkansas
  • 7+ years of research experience in the biotechnology field
  • Specialization in fed-batch fermentation and fermentation optimization
  • Increased expression levels of recombinant proteins that traditionally are difficult to express