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Brief: GreenLight Biosciences agrees to go public in $1.2bn SPAC merger

August 10, 2021

Why it matters:

It’s the seventh agtech SPAC this year, as many sponsors set a target for environmentally beneficial tech companies. While GreenLight Biosciences has made a name for itself lately for its work on Covid-19 vaccines, it has its roots in agriculture, where it hopes to replace chemical pesticides.

Massachusetts-based GreenLight kills pests by targeting their RNA – the material that DNA employs to communicate what proteins to build – so they can’t manufacture essential proteins. Because GreenLight’s pesticide is so targeted, it only affects the intended organisms and does not impact the plant or surrounding environment, as many chemical pesticides do.

The company says it always intended to use its technology for human health too, and shifted focus to develop a Covid-19 vaccine when the pandemic hit in early 2020; it raised $102 million to this end last June.

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