RTP’s AgBiome Lands $116M to Scale its Microbial Platform

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AgBiome, the fast-growing agricultural technology firm that harnesses plant microbiomes to develop novel crop protection products, has landed a whopping $116 million in funding.

The oversubscribed Series D round was co-led by Blue Horizon and Novalis LifeSciences and included multiple new and existing investors. 

Capital will go toward “developing proprietary products, fostering partner programs, joint ventures, and new company formations,” the company said.

“Biologicals are a rapidly growing, disruptive market segment that is projected to grow 14-fold by 2030,” said Scott Uknes, AgBiome co-founder.

“Growers need new tools to control problematic diseases while ensuring effective resistance management. AgBiome is laser-focused on developing those science-based solutions.

AgBiome, a 2013 spinout from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has raised more than $253 million to date.

It has also received investments from Harris and Harris Group and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

AgBiome uses the plant microbiome to identify and develop genetic traits that provide resistance to pests. Its Genesis platform screens trillions of microbes, millions of gene sequences, and thousands of strains. It has discovered 3,500 new insect control genes and 200 active lead strains.

It also has a strong product pipeline. 

Its first product, Howler Fungicide, works on more than 300 crop-disease combinations. 

The company said it expects to launch its second product, Theia Fungicide, in early 2022, and recently submitted its third product, Esendo Fungicide, for EPA registration.

Starting with biological fungicides and expanding to insecticides and herbicides, the company said it expects to launch 11 products by 2025.

“The impact of synthetic pesticides on the environment and human health is in the spotlight like never before, with customers and lawmakers alike demanding alternatives,” said Przemek Obloj, managing partner at Blue Horizon.

“AgBiome provides that alternative: biological products that match the efficacy and cost of synthetic chemicals without the negatives.”

Chantal Allam, NCBiotech Writer
Wed, 09/15/2021 - 15:21