Monsanto acquires Agradis and its microbe assets

Monsanto Company has acquired select assets of Agradis, Inc, a privately held company focused on developing sustainable agricultural solutions. Monsanto's purchase includes the Agradis name and its collection of microbes that can improve crop productivity.

Monsanto said it has also acquired the company's R&D site in La Jolla, California, but did not disclose details.

Agradis was formed in 2011 by Synthetic Genomics Inc (SGI), a privately held company led by J Craig Venter, founder and CEO, for developing genomic-driven solutions to address global challenges, with investments from Plenus, SA de CV, a Mexico-based investing and management company headed by Alfonso Romo.

The assets of Agradis not purchased by Monsanto include castor and sweet sorghum breeding and genetic optimisation technologies, as well as a novel product used to prevent fungal growth on fruits and vegetables.

SGI and Plenus plans to hold on to these assets to form a new company, AgraCast.

"Agradis's collection of plant associated microbes will support Monsanto's efforts to provide farmers with sustainable biological products to improve crop health and productivity," said Steve Padgette, Monsanto R&D investment strategy lead. "We value the expertise and capabilities the Agradis team brings to Monsanto as we continue to build on this exciting area of research."