Funding will expand field trials and commercialization of sterile pest agtech innovations
SAN DIEGO, March 2, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Agragene, Inc., a sustainable agricultural technology company developing novel biological crop pest protection products, announced today that it has raised $1.2 million in a seed financing round. The funding by Ospraie Ag Science (OAS), the venture arm of New York-based Ospraie Management, a commodities and basic industries firm, will expand field trials and commercialization of Agragene’s eco-friendly alternatives to chemical pesticides.
“We are honored and excited to be partnering with Ospraie Ag Science,” said Agragene CEO Gordon Alton. “Ospraie’s broad industry knowledge and extensive connections will add enormous value as we commercially deploy our products. These funds will expand field trials of our sterile insect technology to protect crops. This paradigm shift in biological crop protection displaces chemical insecticides, reduces growers’ costs and is safer for the environment.”
The seed round financing will fund the development and commercialization of Agragene’s Precision-Guided Sterile Insect Technology (pgSIT). Agragene’s pgSIT is an eco-friendly CRISPR-based approach to engineer sterile male crop pests that mate with wild female crop pests. Flooding the field with a large ratio of sterile male spotted wing drosophila results in unfertilized insect eggs that produce no offspring and control the pest population. Applied via drone and more affordable than traditional chemical formulations, pgSIT products are safe for bees, birds and workers.
“Agragene’s pgSIT platform has enormous potential to disrupt the $19 billion pesticide market,” said Ospraie Ag Science Senior Partner Carl Casale. “We see strong demand for targeted biological pest control to reduce costly chemical inputs for growers. It fits perfectly with our objective to invest in innovations that help farmers do more with less environmental impact. We are confident in Agragene’s team and look forward to supporting the commercialization of this groundbreaking technology.”
Agragene is the smart choice for organic and conventional biological crop pest control. Using advanced CRISPR-based genome engineering Agragene creates eco-friendly products that are applicable to thousands of insect pests worldwide. Agragene’s initial product targets spotted wing drosophila, a major global crop pest. Founded in 2017 in San Diego, California, the company is pursuing commercial product launch in the United States and an aggressive licensing strategy worldwide. Learn more at agragene.com and follow us on LinkedIn.
About Ospraie Ag Science
Ospraie Ag Science LLC (OAS) identifies solutions to help farmers “Do More With Less.” By increasing profitability, improving quality-adjusted yield and reducing environmental impact, our companies not only benefit producers but generate smarter, healthier and more efficient food for consumers globally. Utilizing our extensive network and 25 years of experience investing in agriculture, OAS is positioned to help farmers achieve a sustainable future.
Agragene, Ospraie Management and Ospraie Ag Science (OAS) are either registered trademarks or trademarks in the Unites States and/or other countries. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.