Agragene, Inc., a San Diego, Calif.-based sustainable agricultural technology company developing eco-friendly alternatives to chemical pesticides, raised an additional $4m in Series A financing.
Ospraie Ag Science (OAS), the venture arm of New York-based Ospraie Management, made the investment.
The additional funding will expand field trials of Knock-Out™, the company’s first Precision-Guided Sterile Insect Technology™ product, as well as their semiochemical attractant-product Border Patrol™.
Led by CEO Gordon Alton, Agragene provides Knock-Out™, which utilizes a CRISPR-based approach to engineer sterile males that mate with female crop pests in the field. The result is “insect birth control” — unfertilized insect eggs that produce no offspring and naturally control the pest population without chemicals. Applied via drone and more affordable than traditional chemical formulations, Agragene’s Precision-Guided Sterile Insect Technology™ (pgSIT) is safe for bees, birds and workers.
Border Patrol™, the company’s innovative attract-and-kill product, uses a proprietary semiochemical formulation on a fiber mat to attract pests. Females lay their eggs on the mat, where their larvae dry out and die.
Knock-Out™ and Border Patrol™ are the first two innovations in Agragene’s integrated pest management system, which is designed for enhanced sustainability, simplicity and cost-effectiveness. The company has additional products in the pipeline for real-time insect detection and mating disruption.