From AgTech Accelerator – March 2, 2017
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – AgTech Accelerator™, the unique startup accelerator vehicle dedicated to emerging agricultural technologies, today announced the launch of its first AgTech startup, Boragen Inc., with a $10 million Series A financing round. Boragen is developing a novel synthetic chemistry platform, initially focusing on next-generation fungicides aimed to mitigate pest resistance and allow for more sustainable farming methods. Boragen’s versatile approach also has the potential to impact a number of important market-facing issues in the animal health, crop protection and pharmaceutical industries. The investors participating in Boragen’s financing include AgTech Accelerator’s investment syndicate partners: Alexandria Venture Investments, ARCH Venture Partners, Bayer, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Elanco Animal Health, Flagship Pioneering, Hatteras Venture Partners, Mountain Group Capital, Pappas Capital and Syngenta Ventures.
Integrating the investor syndicate’s expertise, a diverse scientific advisory board, the efficiency of a single management team and flexible access to mission critical facilities in Research Triangle Park, AgTech Accelerator’s unique model removes potential business development hurdles and allows Boragen’s technical team to focus on achieving value-generating discovery and development milestones.
“Agricultural innovation is critical to addressing food and water shortages, and many other challenges facing the global agricultural system. AgTech Accelerator’s unique model provides its emerging companies with the necessary resources to successfully develop technologies across the crop and animal health value chains, filling important innovation gaps in AgTech,” said Joel S. Marcus, co-founder and chairman of AgTech Accelerator, and chairman, CEO and founder of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. (NYSE:ARE) and Alexandria Venture Investments. “Boragen’s world-class science and research team is working to develop innovative technology that increases crop yield and allows for implementation of more sustainable farming methods. These types of advances are a key area of investment interest for our team.”
Fungicides play a crucial role in ensuring global agricultural production needs are met. However, some disease-causing fungi are susceptible to resistance, especially as most fungicides have a single-site mode of action, which can be a threat to food production. Boragen is based on technology with a novel mode of action, licensed from The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), that helps address this challenge. Developed by researchers Stephen J. Benkovic, Ph.D., and C. Tony Liu, Ph.D., the Boragen technology aims to mitigate fungicide resistance and reduce the overall amount of chemicals applied per acre.
“Boragen is a tremendous first investment,” said John W. Dombrosky, CEO of AgTech Accelerator, who will also serve as CEO of Boragen. “Boragen’s differentiated platforms will meet a global need for new fungicide options that will help farmers protect against resistance, while upholding standard stewardship practices of rotating chemistries with different modes of action. This investment also powerfully demonstrates the flexibility of the AgTech Accelerator model. When we see a really exciting technology, such as Boragen’s, our individual investors are able to bring additional capital into the deal, immediately increasing the speed and scope of milestones and plans.”
Boragen’s office and lab headquarters will be located within AgTech Accelerator’s facilities in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Boragen’s world-class team of founders includes fieldleading scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Penn State University, Stanford University and The Scripps Research Institute.
Boragen’s board of directors is comprised of world-renowned synthetic chemists and experts in fungal genetics and molecular biology, as well as seasoned and successful entrepreneurs with deep management experience:
• Stephen J. Benkovic, Ph.D., Evan Pugh University professor and Eberly chair in chemistry, Penn State University; awarded National Medal of Science by President Obama
• Kristina Burow, managing director, ARCH Venture Partners
• Joel S. Marcus, co-founder and chairman, AgTech Accelerator; chairman, CEO and founder of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. and Alexandria Venture Investments
• Paul Schimmel, Ph.D., professor, department of cell and molecular biology, The Scripps Research Institute; MacArthur professor emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
About Boragen Inc.
Boragen Inc., established in 2017 in Research Triangle Park, is focused on leveraging the unique chemical properties of boron to develop novel synthetic chemistry platforms to produce nextgeneration fungicides that support more sustainable farming methods. The company’s lead compound decreases the probability of fungicide resistance and reduces the amount of chemical applied while maintaining performance and efficacy. For more information, visit www.boragenbio.com.
About AgTech Accelerator™
AgTech Accelerator, established in 2016 in Research Triangle Park, is a unique startup accelerator vehicle focused on discovering and developing emerging agricultural technology companies. Leveraging its single, highly engaged, shared management team, committed investors and academic institutional partners, AgTech Accelerator identifies, forms, finances and manages the most promising emerging agriculture companies to drive commercialization. For more information, visit www.agtechaccelerator.com.