April 22nd – DuPont announced it’s acquisition of Taxon Biosciences for an undisclosed amount. Based in Tiburon, California, Taxon utilizes microbiome discovery to develop biological crop products. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter.
“In 2014, the businesses in DuPont’s Agriculture, Nutrition & Health and Industrial Biosciences segments sold more than $1 billion in biological solutions across four market sectors. Our in-house, cross-business venture, DuPont Biologicals, draws on our world-class science and deep understanding of food and production agriculture markets to deliver value-added crop biological solutions,” DuPont Executive Vice President James C. Borel said in a statement released by DuPont. “Taxon has built a leading technology platform for the discovery of microbial based products that will further strengthen our capabilities in biologicals.”
Taxon Biosciences was founded in 2000 by Matt Ashby and Jasper Rine, both of whom are leading microbial geneticists. Taxon’s mission is to develop a microbial genomics platform that can help address many of the world’s pressing agricultural, health and energy needs.
There have been a handful of other microbiome companies launched recently, but Taxon Biosciences is a long-standing player in the industrial microbiome field. The co-lead investors in their Series A round were Formation 8 and BP Ventures , along with ConocoPhillips Technology Ventures, LeFrak and Molly Ashby, founding investor.
“DuPont has a legacy of innovation, and we are excited to join the company in transforming the future of global agriculture through crop biologicals,” said Glen Nedwin, chief executive officer and president, Taxon Biosciences, also said in a statement. “Our unique technology platform coupled with DuPont’s robust research capabilities and positioning across several markets makes the integration of Taxon into DuPont a natural fit and will support DuPont’s ability to bring new products to the market, faster.”
For it’s part, DuPont sees Taxon as a prized acquisition due to its vast ownership of intellectual property in microbial genomics and consortia. According to DuPont, Taxon’s experience and expertise will be a valuable addition to the development of new DuPont seed treatment and foliar and soil application products for important crops.
“The acquisition of Taxon will complement and enhance our in-house microbial discovery programs,” said Frank DeGennaro, director of DuPont Biologicals. “With this added capability, we expect to accelerate our time from discovery to market and we are field testing biological discovery leads identified by Taxon this year.”
DuPont shares gained 1.1%, an increase in market capitalization of about $700 million, after the news of the acquisition broke.
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