RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – March 2, 2017 – 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 field leading 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
• 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 next generation 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.
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