AgBiome, a Research Triangle Park, NC-based agricultural research firm, raised $34.5m in Series B round of financing.
The round was led by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with participation from The University of Texas Investment Management Company (UTIMCO), Pontifax Global Food and Agriculture Technology Fund, and Series A investors Polaris Partners, ARCH Venture Partners, Harris & Harris Group, Innotech Advisers, Monsanto Growth Ventures, and Syngenta Ventures.
The company intends to use the funds to advance its research and development programs as well as support the launch of its first products. AgBiome will also work closely with BMGF to use its technology and products to help the poorest farmers world-wide.
Led by Eric Ward and Larry Daquioag, AgBiome develops biological and trait products from the crop-associated microbiome. The company has isolated and identified a large collection of agriculturally relevant microbes, each of whose genome is sequenced, annotated, and analyzed using its proprietary informatics platform custom designed for microbial genome comparison.
Its first product, a biological fungicide pending approval by EPA, is expected to go to market in 2016.