Agragene, Inc., a sustainable agricultural technology company developing eco-friendly alternatives to chemical pesticides, announced today that it has raised an additional $4 million in Series A financing from Ospraie Ag Science (OAS), the venture arm of New York-based Ospraie Management. The additional funding will expand field trials of Knock-Out™, their first Precision-Guided Sterile Insect Technology™ product, as well as their semiochemical attractant-product Border Patrol™.
The announcement of another round of OAS funding comes in advance of the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit September 15-16, where bio-based products will take center stage as global demand soars for more sustainable agri-food solutions.
“We’re thrilled by the additional investment and vote of confidence from Ospraie Ag Science,” said Agragene CEO Gordon Alton. “They clearly understand the value of our approach to biological crop protection, which displaces insecticides, reduces costs and protects the environment. Our solutions are not only more sustainable, they’re more cost effective—a win-win for growers and the environment.”
Agragene’s Knock-Out™ product 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. Alton likens the approach to “cherry jam on a triscuit.”
“Our formulation is proving highly effective and when compared to similar products on the market, will require far fewer ‘traps’ per acre for a much lower overall cost,” said Alton. “Moreover, we’ll be offering it via a service model, with certified Agragene technicians placing and activating mats for customers. This creates a simple, effective and sustainable approach at a lower price.”
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.
“Agragene is demonstrating the kind of exciting innovation that will shift the industry toward increasing yield efficiencies naturally,” said Jason Mraz, Ospraie Management Co-Founder. “Their Knock-Out™ and Border Patrol™ products simultaneously reduce chemicals and costs, so they truly meet our objective of ‘helping farmers do more with less.'”
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 about the Future of Biocontrol at agragene.com
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.