Athenix, a biotechnology firm focused on agricultural and chemical solutions, has landed $13 million in Series C venture financing.
Leading the round is a new investor – Finistere Partners of San Diego, CA.
Also participating in the round were Intersouth Partners of Durham as well as other previous investors Polaris Venture Partners, Boston Millennia Partners, Hunt Ventures and Eastman Ventures, the venture capital arm of Eastman Chemical Company.
“Athenix is an exciting investment opportunity,” said Jerry Caulder of Finistere Partners. “The company continues to make excellent progress and is poised to become a key provider of high-value traits for transgenic plants.”
Athenix closed on an oversubscribed B round of $12.5 million in January of 2004. Its first financing of $8 million came in September 2001. The company was founded in 2001.
The financing comes after Athenix completed successful field trials last year on transgenic plants that have a new class of genes that are highly resistant to the herbicide glyphosate. Glyphosate is used to kill weeds. Athenix said its plants withstood 16 times the amount of glyphosate recommended for use with glyphosate tolerant corn.
“These remarkably successful field trials mark a major product development milestone for Athenix,” said Mike Koziel, president and chief executive officer of Athenix. “Herbicide tolerance is one of our key products. And, while important in its own right, when combined with our nematode and insect resistance technologies, these genes allow Athenix to provide the Crop Production Industry with the most advanced trait stack products.”
Athenix said the new financing would be used to continue product development. The company is developing crops that can be tolerant of herbicides and resistant to pests.
“Our products provide growers with important alternatives essential for improving agricultural productivity,” Koziel said. “This new round of financing is a great endorsement by our investors of our continued progress and future promise.”