AgroSpheres taps FMC for $3m expansion of Series B

The Charlottesville, Virginia-headquartered company announced plans for a fermentation plant at a ceremony attended by Virginia Governor and former Carlyle Group executive Glenn Youngkin.

Crop protection start-up AgroSpheres secured an investment from New York Stock Exchange-listed FMC Corporation that increased its Series B to $25 million and closed the round.

Charlottesville, Virginia-headquartered AgroSpheres announced last October it had raised a $22 million Series B that also included Lewis & Clark AgriFood; San Francisco-headquartered BIDRA Ventures; Cavallo Ventures, the San Francisco-based venture unit of Wilbur Ellis and Ospraie Ag Science.

AgroSpheres offers technology designed to improve crop protection products through the precise delivery of active ingredients including small molecules, peptides and nucleic acids.

The company describes its offerings as capable of targeting specific genes in specific pests through its novel biodegradable encapsulation technology, which creates “AgroSpheres” in a one-step fermentation process that helps activate and restore plant nutrients. It also operates a formulation-as-a-service unit focused on collaborations with agbiotech companies focused on microplastic and solvent replacement.

Representatives of FMC, a Philadelphia-headquartered agricultural science company, did not return messages seeking further detail. In a statement, FMC Ventures managing director Mark Brooks praised AgroSpheres’ technology as a potential “game-changer” for crop protection.

“With broad IP protection, manufacturing capabilities, and a strong industry network, AgroSpheres is a stand-out in AgTech,” he added.

Ospraie was the lead investor in a 2019 Series A for AgroSpheres that was initially closed on $4.5 million, later expanded to $8.8 million and included $1 million in financing to support commercial development.

Plans for the Series B capital include an acceleration of product development, a seeding of broader applications of its AgriCell platform technology and an expansion of manufacturing capacity.

In May, AgroSpheres announced plans for a pilot fermentation plant near its existing headquarters in a ceremony attended by the Governor and former Carlyle Group executive Glenn Youngkin.

“Agriculture technology is on the move, and these guys are leading it, and Virginia is at the forefront,” Youngkin said at the event.

Lewis & Clark managing director Larry Page joined the AgroSpheres board of directors as part of the Series B.

“As a longtime agtech investor, I am aware of the challenges in bringing effective bio-based solutions to growers. AgroSpheres has the biomanufacturing capability and consistent, year-to-year field trial results validated by third parties across the globe to be an industry- changing company for the years to come,” he said in the statement.