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Agri heavyweights join agbio investment

AgBiome has closed a $17.5m series A round of funding after getting commitments from three agribusinesses in the final phase.

Agriculture multi-nationals Monsanto, Syngenta and Novozyme have committed to a $17.5 million Series A round of funding for agbio company AgBiome.

Venture capital firms Polaris Partners, ARCH Venture Partners, Harris & Harris and Innotech Advisors were the first investors to join the round ahead of its first close in April 2013 on $14.5 million. The three large agribusinesses committed the final $3 million in investment.

AgBiome, a North Carolina-based firm, researches the crop microbiome to identify products that reduce risk and improve crop yields.

Monsanto’s investment is a continuation of its collaboration with smaller agbio start-ups.

“The investment in AgBiome through our Monsanto Growth Ventures organization, which is the investment-focused arm of our company that brings together researchers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and emerging high technology companies,” a spokeswoman told Agri Investor. “Continued collaboration with diverse innovators like AgBiome will be key to helping deliver the broad range of sustainable agricultural solutions needed to meet growing demand.”