Focus is on full scale commercialization of company’s patented nematode pheromone extract of nematode dispersal for crop biocontrol
WOODLAND, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, November 8, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — Pheronym, an ag-biotech pest management company, has begun scaling up production of its patented NemastimTM pest bio-control solution at Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, through a development agreement that provides access to key fermentation and quality control systems. Pheronym’s founders, Dr. Fatma Kaplan and Karl Cameron Schiller, were named Activate Fellows this year and joined the entrepreneurial research program’s Berkeley community, hosted at Berkeley Lab’s Cyclotron Road Division. The fellowship provides a two-year Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Berkeley Lab, through which Pheronym is accessing laboratory and production infrastructure that is vital to its success.
“This agreement marks a key milestone toward scaling our solution for commercial agriculture,” said Dr. Fatma Kaplan, CEO of Pheronym. “This CRADA with Cyclotron Road will leverage our significant progress to bring to market the first commercial nematode pheromone production creating an effective approach to pest management that will be better for people and our planet.”
Biopesticides are the fastest-growing segment of agricultural pest-control technologies, and NemastimTM improves the effectiveness of beneficial nematodes in the soil.
“Pheronym has developed a highly effective solution for pest bio-control,” said Rachel Slaybaugh, Director of Cyclotron Road. “Our goal is to help them get to scale so farmers and consumers can all benefit from their sustainable, planet-friendly solution.”
Chemical & Engineering News named Pheronym an agtech leader and it won the 2021 Applied Chemical Ecology Award from the International Society of Chemical Ecology. “Fatma and Karl are building a path for farmers to transition away from conventional pesticides while advancing biopesticide science,” says David Anton, Activate Berkeley’s Managing Director. “They join science entrepreneurs in the Activate Fellowship who are accelerating the transition to a sustainable, resilient, and equitable economy.”
How Pheronym’s Breakthrough Works
Pheronym’s natural product breakthrough increases the effectiveness of beneficial nematodes’ ability to control pests in agriculture. While nematodes are regularly used in pest management, commercially available nematodes do not disperse efficiently or as effectively as they can when they are applied to a field. This is because the insect target is mobile, so nematodes, which become dormant quickly, need to always be actively moving to seek an insect pest host. Pheronym’s approach directly impacts this problem – significantly improving the mobility and aggressiveness of the nematodes making them more effective in killing pests. Pheronym also has shown that a different kind of pheromone can control plant-parasitic nematodes, which harm crops, by repelling these yield-sapping pests from the plant roots.
About Cyclotron Road
Cyclotron Road, a division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, supports leading entrepreneurial scientists as they advance technology projects with the potential for global impact. The division’s keystone program is a fellowship that supports entrepreneurial scientists and engineers as they develop globally impactful and commercially viable technology products. Since 2015, in partnership with the non-profit Activate.org, fellows have collaborated with more than 70 Berkeley Lab scientists, and the organizations they’ve founded have raised more than $360 million in follow-on funding, hired more than 360 employees, and introduced new products across industries.
Founded in 2015, Activate is a nonprofit organization that empowers scientists to reinvent the world by bringing their research to market to address climate change and other global challenges. Activate works between government and the private sector, transforming scientists into high-impact entrepreneurs through a fellowship that guides them along every step of the journey. Applications for Cohort 2022 are open until November 30, 2021. Learn more: Activate.org/apply
Award-winning Pheronym is an ag-biotech pest management company that enables sustainable farming through its novel platform of nematode pheromones. The company’s patented solution uses a new pheromone to control plant-parasitic nematodes (microscopic roundworms) in an eco-friendly way and enhances beneficial nematodes’ efficacy to eliminate pest insects. Learn more at http://www.pheronym.com