AgBiome sell-off continues following sale of two main products

April 12, 2024

Ginkgo Bioworks has acquired AgBiome‘s platform assets, including over 115,000 fully sequenced and isolated strains, over 500 million unique gene sequences, and relevant functional data and metadata, as well as AgBiome’s development pipeline.

This announcement follows the selling off of AgBIome’s two biofungicides, Howler and Theia, to Certis Biologicals in March of this year.

The acquisition of AgBiome assets by Ginkgo lays rumors to rest that AgBiome has closed its doors, although there has been no official word from the company about its future. In October 2023, the North Carolina Department of Commerce listed AgBiome among its Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) report. WARN helps ensure advance notice in cases of qualified plant closings and mass layoffs. The accompanying note said 123 AgBiome staff members would be on ‘permanent layoff,’ effective December 2023.

AgBiome raised US$230 million in four funding rounds since its establishment in 2012.

In its March 2023 statement, Certis Biologicals said that it had acquired “multiple assets” from AgBiome, including the biofungicides Howler and Theia. “Howler and Theia complement our existing portfolio of biofungicides, including Double Nickel and our newest product for large-acre crops, Convergence,” said Chris Judd, vice president, North America, Certis Biologicals.

Howler fungicide, Pseudomonas chlororaphis strain AFS0, provides control against diseases that threaten grapes, vegetables, tuber and root crops, berries, pome fruits and other specialty crops. Theia fungicide, Bacillus subtilis strain AFS032321, provides control of soilborne and foliar diseases such as alternaria, blight, phytophthora, powdery mildew and pythium in a variety of crops including citrus, cucurbits, grapes, stone fruits and fruiting vegetables.

AgBiome’s platform assets will be integrated into Ginkgo Ag Biologicals Services, established with the acquisition of a Bayer agricultural biologicals R&D facility in 2022, and will expand Ginkgo’s proprietary unified metagenomics database. Also included in the acquisition is a product concept pipeline including a dozen product candidates with greenhouse or field validation.

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