AgriMetis, a biotech company developing crop protection agents, closed a $7.3m Series A led by Syngenta Ventures and Acidophil. Lutherville-based Agrimetis, which was co-founded in 2014 by Acidophil, is taking a new approach to keeping pests at bay on the farm. It’s focused on replicating specific plant defenses found in nature.
Many plants, fungi and other soil bacteria living in the vicinity of plants produce their own complex bioactive molecules, dubbed “natural products”, which they release into the environment to defend against biological threats. AgriMetis wants to produce these molecules at scale to provide better protection for crops.
The hurdle has been that the natural products are produced in small amounts in response to certain environmental stimuli, so they are difficult to work with and expensive to produce. But, recent advances in synthetic biology and chemistry are changing this.
“AgriMetis will marry recent advances in synthetic biology and chemistry with the advantages that natural products and their derivatives bring to crop protection,” says Philip Goelet, the CEO of AgriMetis. “Our new products will have improved pest specificity and lower the cost of goods [by producing natural products at greater yields].”
AgriMetis has already tested its technology in several commercially validated programs. This latest round of funding will go towards advancing its current pipeline of crop protection agents to key development milestones.