Prairie Plant Systems was established in 1988 as a privately held plant biotechnology company with a focus on research and development. Initial research efforts concentrated on the development of micropropagation protocols and in vitro rooting techniques for the saskatoon berry tree, a hardy fruit-bearing tree native to Saskatchewan, Canada. This initial corporate program effectively produced disease-clean trees, critical for the use in commercial saskatoon berry orchards.
The following year, Prairie Plant Systems expanded and relocated into the L.F. Kristjanson Biotechnology Complex in Innovation Place, Saskatoon. Research efforts continued and, by 1990, Prairie Plant Systems had 29 different varieties of plants in culture including saskatoon berries, apples, plums, raspberries, cherries, cutleaf birches, miniature roses and several medicinal plant species.
The proprietary protocols and successful technologies made Prairie Plant System an obvious partner for contracting services to other organizations, including the Plant Biotechnology Institute of the National Research Council, Agriculture Canada, and later Cameco and the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan.