DuPont to buy microbiome discovery company Taxon Biosciences

US chemical giant E.I. DuPont de Nemours (DuPont) yesterday struck a deal to buy microbiome discovery company Taxon Biosciences Inc, in order to expand into the seed and crop protection market.

DuPont did not disclose the financial terms of the agreement but said that the deal is expected in the second quarter.

Taxon was founded in 2000, by microbial geneticists Matt Ashby and Jasper Rine, to develop a transformational microbial genomics platform to solve critical challenges in agriculture, energy and health sciences.

It was the first mover in the industrial microbiome field, utilises proprietary advancements in genomics, bioinformatics and microbiology to identify, resolve, validate and commercialise microbiome-based products from agricultural or environmental settings.

The California-based company holds a broad intellectual property estate in microbial consortia and microbial genomics products which will help the development of new DuPont seed treatment, foliar and soil application products for important row crops, fruits and vegetables.
Crop biologicals include microbes, plant extracts, and other natural substances used to control pests and improve plant health, quality and yield. As part of an integrated management approach to control pests, biologicals can provide more choice and flexibility for growers, and complement leading-edge solutions for growers through DuPont Crop Protection and DuPont Pioneer, DuPont said in a statement.

In 2014, DuPont's Agriculture, Nutrition & Health and Industrial Biosciences divisions sold more than $1 billion in biological solutions.

''The acquisition of Taxon will complement and enhance our in-house microbial discovery programs,'' said Frank DeGennaro, director of DuPont Biologicals. ''With this added capability, we expect to accelerate our time from discovery to market and we are field testing biological discovery leads identified by Taxon this year.''

''DuPont has a legacy of innovation, and we are excited to join the company in transforming the future of global agriculture through crop biologicals,'' said Glenn Nedwin, CEO and president of Taxon Bioscience.