7 January 2020
The Bayer Trendlines Ag Innovation Fund, set up by Bayer Crop Science and The Trendlines, announced the establishment of ProJini Agchem Ltd., a new company focused on developing a platform technology to develop novel pesticides with new modes of action.
Pesticides are the main tools the farmer uses to control pests. Pests (insects, diseases and weeds) cause up to 40% yield loss in agriculture, according to FAO estimates. The pesticide market in 2018 reached an estimated US$55B in annual sales.
Current solutions are insufficient, due to increased resistance, as well as regulatory pressure. Additionally, despite the investment of billions in R&D per year by agchem companies, innovative solutions based on novel modes of action is limited.
ProJini Agchem is developing a solution focused on new types of molecular targets: protein-protein interactions. While such interactions are at the core of any organism, it is very challenging to develop inhibitors for such systems via conventional approaches due to their spatial and chemical characteristics. The platform, developed by scientists Maayan Gal, PhD and Itay Bloch at the Migal Galilee Research Institute Ltd., leverages a combination of computational-biophysical methods to tackle this significant challenge. ProJini Agchem received an exclusive license to use this platform to develop novel pesticides with new modes of action.
The Bayer Trendlines Ag Innovation Fund was established in April 2016 as a collaborative partnership between The Trendlines Group and Bayer to invest in agricultural technologies. The partnership agreement includes a US$10 million investment from Bayer. Bayer’s decades of experience in agricultural science, innovation and regulatory affairs, alongside Trendlines’ specialization in investing in innovative, early-stage medical and agricultural technologies, form the base of this strong alliance.
Discovering new active ingredients and modes of action remains a top objective for agriculture in the future.
Axel Trautwein, Head of Small Molecules, Bayer Crop Science
Establishing ProJini Agchem with Trendlines is a prime example of how our ‘open innovation’ model works in Crop Science R&D, with the aim of supporting farmers to always achieve better standards in protecting their harvests.
Allen Christian, Head of Open Innovation and Strategic Partnerships, Bayer Crop Science
The need to develop new crop protection technologies to enhance food security is of high importance. Not only are known pesticides ineffective due to resistance, they are also of environmental concern. ProJini Agchem has risen to the challenge of developing new modes of intervention to provide the market with novel, more effective crop protection methods. Because protein-protein interactions are species specific, we expect the company to discover targeted pesticides that will be less harmful to the environment. ProJini Agchem is the third company established by the Fund and boosts Trendlines’ growing ag-bio sector of portfolio companies.
Steve Rhodes, Chairman and CEO, Trendlines
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