RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., Aug. 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- AgBiome LLC, a private company developing novel agricultural products to improve crop productivity, today announced that it has secured $34.5 million in Series B financing that will further advance the company's research and development programs, and support the launch of the company's first products. The investment group includes the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The University of Texas Investment Management Company (UTIMCO), Pontifax Global Food and Agriculture Technology Fund, and Series A investors Polaris Partners, ARCH Venture Partners, Harris & Harris Group, Innotech Advisers, Monsanto Growth Ventures, and Syngenta Ventures.
"Poor farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia face tremendous hurdles, such as unproductive soil, plant diseases, pests and drought," said Vipula Shukla, Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "This investment will ensure that AgBiome's expertise is applied to creating new, affordable tools for these farmers that will protect their staple crops from pests and diseases."
"We couldn't be happier about adding these great new investors to the AgBiome family," said Andrew Graham, CFO of AgBiome, Inc. "The combination of marquee investors, our R&D partnerships, and the terrific team we are continuing to build puts us in a unique position to be the most successful agricultural innovator ever."
Tom Dietz, Chairperson of AgBiome's Board, added, "These superb investors joining the syndicate backing AgBiome is evidence of how much the company has accomplished in the 2 ½ years since its founding. AgBiome is making a huge mark on the ag industry."
Who is AgBiome?
AgBiome develops highly efficacious biological and trait products from the crop-associated microbiome. We have isolated and identified the largest collection of agriculturally relevant microbes, each of whose genome is sequenced, annotated, and analyzed using our proprietary informatics platform custom designed for microbial genome comparison. We test for activity with our validated proprietary screening pipelines for a broad range of agricultural pests and pathogens. Partnerships with leading agricultural companies, including Syngenta and Genective, accelerate our discovery process and allow us to deliver solutions to global markets. AgBiome is commercializing its first product, a biological fungicide pending approval by EPA, with first sales anticipated in 2016. With 36 full-time and 14 part-time employees, AgBiome will occupy a new state-of-the-art 30,000 square foot laboratory and greenhouse in early 2016. AgBiome's products will help farmers combat many of the most important unsolved problems in agriculture, including insects, nematodes, and diseases.