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Flagship Ventures partners with Bayer CropScience

Bayer will work closely with entrepreneurs at Flagship and its innovation arm VentureLabs to identify technologies that could be helpful to Bayer’s mission of improving farming and agriculture.

Flagship Ventures, a venture capital and venture creation firm, has formed a strategic innovation partnership with Bayer CropScience. The collaboration, which includes similar partnerships with healthcare firms AstraZeneca and Nestlé Health Science, will allow Flagship to scale up its invention and launch arm, VentureLabs. It will also enable the firm to expand its early-stage venture funding activities, according to the press release.

Bayer will work closely with entrepreneurs at Flagship and VentureLabs in order to identify technologies that could be helpful to Bayer’s mission of improving farming and agriculture, according to Jeffrey Krasner, a senior spokesperson for Flagship Ventures. “[Flagship] gets a seat in the front row as new companies take shape, and they will share their expertise and domain knowledge. Bayer CropScience will then have an opportunity to collaborate with companies that emerge through direct investments, licensing, joint ventures or acquisitions,” Krasner told Agri Investor.

Bayer CropScience, AstraZeneca and Nestlé Health Science all invested in Flagship Ventures’ Fund V, which had its final close on $537 million in March. The oversubscribed venture capital fund plans to invest $180 million, or nearly one-third of the fund, in agriculture and the rest into the healthcare industry.

“Flagship shares our strategic vision of addressing some of the major problems in modern agriculture by developing innovative solutions,” Liam Condon, chief executive officer of Bayer CropScience, said in a statement. “We are excited to work with Flagship to identify and commercialise companies that will have a positive, sustainable impact on agricultural production and food security in the 21st century.”

AstraZeneca, a biopharmaceutical business, and Nestlé Health Science, a health-science company owned by Nestlé, will also have access to Flagship’s entrepreneurial innovation, venture creation and development, according to a statement.

“The strategic innovation partnerships we have formed with these leading companies will enable us to accelerate our efforts, translate more scientific discoveries into game-changing companies that disrupt existing markets, and make our own breakthrough innovations to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges,” Noubar Afeyan, senior managing partner and chief executive of Flagship, said in a statement.