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AgTech Biotech

Pluton Biosciences selected for Global Illumina Accelerator

Pluton Biosciences is a microbial testing and discovery research company dedicated to finding unique microbes to replace synthetic chemical applications in agriculture and pest control with eco-friendly natural products. Pluton’s industry disrupting process patches critical “cracks” in the Research and Development pipeline by speeding the introduction of novel and beneficial bioproducts to market. Pluton Biosciences, was chosen for Illumina Accelerator, which partners with global entrepreneurs to build breakthrough genomics startups.

With extensive mentorship, financial support, and access to sequencing systems, reagents, and lab space, Illumina is building a dynamic ecosystem to help genomics startups, including therapeutics, diagnostics, agriculture, synthetic biology, forensics, and direct-to-consumer applications, launch in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Cambridge, UK.

“Pluton is thrilled to be the first St. Louis-based biotech company to be chosen by Illumina Accelerator. The opportunity to build our company in San Francisco, a global center of the life sciences industry, is terrific, and to have an investment from Illumina, the world’s largest sequencing company, is even better.”

Charlie Walch, Pluton CEO

Pluton uses Micromining®, its high-throughput microbial discovery platform, to identify and isolate novel bacteria, fungi, and viruses within months and not years, which dramatically improves R&D throughput for agtech companies and producers of pesticides.

“We are proud to partner with Pluton in the 11th funding cycle of Illumina Accelerator San Francisco Bay Area. Pluton’s experienced team and unique approach to harness the power of next generation DNA sequencing will uncover new microbial insights for environmental and plant health.”

Amanda Cashin, Co-founder and Global Head of Illumina Accelerator

Illumina Accelerator is accepting applications for the next global funding cycle, which are due by August 1, 2020. To learn more and apply, please visit Illumina website.

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AgTech FoodTech

ESG set aside over S$55 million to develop a vibrant agri-food tech ecosystem

Enterprise Singapore (ESG) has set aside over S$55 million to accelerate the growth of promising local agriculture and aquaculture companies. ESG’s ongoing efforts will catalyse innovation and scalable solutions to meet evolving needs. ESG has put in place various initiatives to support the growth of the agri-food tech startup ecosystem and drive deep tech commercialisation.

Modern technology in agriculture and aquaculture has enabled the development of climate-resilient, resource-efficient and high-yield farming solutions, offering opportunities for food producers to ‘grow more with less’ in densely built-up environments. ESG has been supporting local food producers in their development and adoption of these technologies.

“There is an urgency for our agriculture and aquaculture companies to leverage agri-food technologies to address the growing demand locally, as well as globally. We will also continue to support agri-food tech startups and the use of disruptive innovation to future-proof food production in Asia. This will not only contribute towards national food resilience, but further strengthen their global competitiveness.” 

Mr Ted Tan, Deputy CEO, Enterprise Singapore

ESG has anchored six global agri-food tech and life sciences accelerators in the past year under the Startup SG Accelerator programme – Big Idea Ventures, GROW, Hatch Blue, The Yield Lab, Trendlines Agrifood Innovation Centre and Temasek Life Sciences Accelerator – to nurture and mentor agri-food tech startups in fundraising, product development, commercialisation and internationalisation. These six accelerators are expected to groom over 150 agri-food tech startups over the next three years.

ESG is working with innovative aquaculture and agriculture companies, like:

  1. Singapore Aquaculture Technologies (SAT) is a sustainable aquaculture nutrition & healthcare company based in Singapore. It complement natural processes from the ocean, sun, micro-algae and aquaculture, with technology to create scalable solutions. It currently runs a smart floating fish farm incorporating Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence to control processes and optimise resource inputs, such as feed, energy and oxygen. 
  2. Sustenir Agriculture produces seasonal crops all year round through Controlled Environment Agriculture. A passion for nutrition and the environment runs through the Sustenir team. The company uses 95% less water than traditional farming and by growing locally, it reduces carbon emissions for a happier healthier earth.

Beyond growing enterprises, ESG will continue their efforts to build trust in Singapore products and services through quality and standards, as well as establish Singapore as a leading startup and trading hub.

Read more at SG Press Centre

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AgTech Biotech

GreenLight Biosciences raises $102M to bring sustainable biopesticides and a COVID-19 vaccine to market

GreenLight Biosciences, a growing agtech and life sciences company, has raised $102 million round of funding from Morningside Ventures, S2G Ventures, Cormorant Asset Management, Continental Grain Company, Fall Line Capital, Tao Capital Partners, Baird Capital, MLS Capital Fund II, Lewis and Clark AgriFood, and Lupa Systems.

The funding is expected to rapidly expand production of its RNA products for agricultural and life sciences applications. Its pipeline of RNA-based agricultural products will help farmers create greener, cleaner crops by precisely targeting a specific pest with non-toxic biocontrols, and without harming beneficial insects or leaving residues in the soil or water.

GreenLight, formed in 2008, develops sustainable solutions to address some of the biggest issues facing our planet today, from public health crises to environmentally-friendly food production for a growing population. The new funding comes a month after the biotechnology company received a $17 million special purpose round to accelerate large-scale manufacturing of future COVID-19 vaccines using the company’s proprietary messenger RNA production technology.

“GreenLight was born from a passion to make our world more sustainable and more equitable. We are honored to draw the support of this notable group of new and existing investors as we drive forward our dual mission to make food production more robust and environmentally respectful; and our health solutions applicable to every member of the human race.”

Dr. Andrey Zarur, CEO, GreenLight Biosciences

GreenLight’s breakthrough comes from cracking the code for rapid and affordable RNA production at scale. GreenLight plans to file paperwork with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency later this year, which would enable a commercial launch of its biopesticide in 2022.

Read more at GreenLight Biosciences

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Investments

Agtech startup that crafts “personalized seeds” for farmers, raised $45 million

Inari Agriculture, a Cambridge-based agtech startup that crafts “personalized seeds” for farmers, raised $45 million in a loan and security agreement with K2 HealthVentures (K2HV), a life sciences-focused investment firm.This round complements the $89 million the company raised in equity last August. It will be used to accelerate the development and commercialization of gene-edited crops that address the challenges of climate change and improve productivity.

Inari Agriculture unites biological and data sciences to provide scientists and farmers with new crops better suited for local environments. Its first generation of proprietary improved corn and soybeans is currently being tested in greenhouses.

Read more at BostInno