Updated Mar. 2, 2017 at 7:15 a.m.

AgTech Accelerator's first deal: $10M in fungicide startup

Published: 2017-03-02 06:37:00
Updated: 2017-03-02 07:15:17


Boragen, a startup that has developed a platform for creation of new fungicide options, is the first company to receive an investment from the recently launched AgTech Accelerator in RTP. The Accelerator also is providing the startup with its first CEO who happens to be the Accelerator's CEO.

“Boragen is a tremendous first investment,” said John Dombrosky, the AgTech Accelerator CEO, in the announcement.

John Dombrosky “Boragen’s differentiated platforms will meet a global need for new fungicide options that will help farmers protect against resistance, while upholding standard stewardship practices of rotating chemistries with different modes of action. This investment also powerfully demonstrates the flexibility of the AgTech Accelerator model. When we see a really exciting technology, such as Boragen’s, our individual investors are able to bring additional capital into the deal, immediately increasing the speed and scope of milestones and plans.”

The company received $10 million in a Series A financing, the Accelerator, which raised some $20 million itself and launched last year, announced Thursday.

Boragen will base its headquarters at the Accelerator. Its founders include scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Penn State University, Stanford University and The Scripps Research Institute. Technology for the platform was developed by scientists Stephen Benkovic and C. Tony Liu and has been licensed from Penn State.

The company aims to mitigate fungicide resistance and also reduce the amount of chemicals applied per acre for crops.

"This is a brand new class of fungicides that attacks plant disease in a different way to combat resistance, providing farmers new tools to give the world nutritious food at a good price," a spokesperson for the Accelerator says.

Investors include Alexandria Venture Investments, ARCH Venture Partners, Bayer, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Elanco Animal Health, Flagship Pioneering, Hatteras Venture Partners, Mountain Group Capital, Pappas Capital and Syngenta Ventures, which also back the Accelerator.

“Boragen’s world-class science and research team is working to develop innovative technology that increases crop yield and allows for implementation of more sustainable farming methods. These types of advances are a key area of investment interest for our team," said Joel Marcus, chairman of the AgTech Accelerator and the head of Alexandria Real Estate Equities.

“Agricultural innovation is critical to addressing food and water shortages, and many other challenges facing the global agricultural system. AgTech Accelerator’s unique model provides its emerging companies with the necessary resources to successfully develop technologies across the crop and animal health value chains, filling important innovation gaps in AgTech."

According to the AgTech Accelerator, Boragen's technology has the "potential" to impact:

  • Animal health
  • Crop protection
  • Pharmaceutical industries

In addition to the capital and space, the AgTech Accelerator will provide support from its own scientific advisory board.

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