RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Agtech startup AgBiome, has raised another $116 million as it steps up crop protection product development with the stated goal of “feeding the world responsibly.”
The new round was oversubscribed, meaning investors put more money into the company than its original funding goal.
AgBiome had raised more than $100 million in previous rounds, including backing from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
AgBiome focuses primarily on the microbial level, researching and developing microorganisms and proteins that can kill pests, fungal diseases and weeds.
Leading the new round, which was announced early Tuesday, are Blue Horizon and Novalis LifeSciences.
AgBiome said it will use the new funding “to expand more rapidly its product portfolio, scale its scientific and commercial teams, and continue to build its global presence and partnerships.”
One product is already available, a second is expected to be approved early next year, and a third recently was submitted to regulators at the EPA for review. AgBiome reiterated in the new funding announcement its goal of hav ing 11 products available by 2025.
“Biologicals are a rapidly growing, disruptive market segment that is projected to grow 14-fold by 2030,” said Scott Uknes, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of AgBiome. “Growers need new tools to control problematic diseases while ensuring effective resistance management. AgBiome is laser focused on developing those science-based solutions. With this capital, AgBiome is well positioned to execute on its strategic business model focused on developing proprietary products, fostering partner programs, joint ventures, and new company formations, all of which represent significant growth opportunities for AgBiome>’
AgBiome’s natural approach
“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. AgBiome helps realize Blue Horizon’s goal to accelerate the transition to a sustainable food system; we are thrilled to be able to support the Company and its experienced team.”
While chemical treatments can leave toxic residue on food, biological treatments like these fungicides are made with living microorganisms. This means the product is biodegradable, non-polluting and leaves no harmful residue. In a nutshell, it’s safe for humans and animals, Rachyl Jones wrote recently for the NCBiotech Center.
“As one of the leading innovators in the biologics crop protection space, this significant fundraising will allow AgBiome to rapidly accelerate its mission to feed the world responsibly by both discovering and developing its own products as well as by identifying strategic acquisition growth opportunities,” added Marijn Dekkers, Chair of Novalis LifeSciences and Chair of the AgBiome Board.