Groundbreaking for the Monsanto Lab took place in 1965, and it was designed by Murphy and Mackey — the same firm that designed Olin Library. The building was constructed to fulfill the needs of the growing biology program.
The building was named for the Monsanto Corporation, the first building on the Danforth Campus to be named after a corporate body. Monsanto is an agriculture company with their headquarters located in Saint Louis. Monsanto Corporation has for many years been a major supporter of research in the sciences at Washington University through such measures as the Washington University/Monsanto Biomedical Research Agreement, which has brought more than $100 million of research funding to the University.