DTU-spinout gets investment to fight pests

Monday 17 Sep 18

Contact

Irina Borodina
Senior Researcher
DTU Biosustain
+45 45 25 80 20

History of BioPhero

BioPhero was founded in 2016. The technology for production of pheromones was developed in a joint effort by the research groups of Dr. Borodina and Prof. Christer Löfstedt from Lund University. Dr. Carina Holkenbrink, who was the research scientist on the DTU team, later stepped in as co-owner and is now heading the strain development at BioPhero. Marie Inger Dam, who was the research assistant on the project, had also joined BioPhero. The development was funded by the research grants from The Novo Nordisk Foundation, Novo Seeds, and Region Sjællands Vækstforum.

BioPhero, a spinout formed at The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability (DTU Biosustain), receives 3 million Euro to develop pheromone-based products that should replace the use of harmful insecticides.

Novo Seeds, Syddansk Innovation and Syngenta Ventures have invested in total 3 million Euro (22,5 million DKK) as a seed investment in BioPhero. The spinout is developing a new sustainable and eco-friendly method for controlling insect pests in agriculture. The goal is to provide the agricultural industry with an alternative to the use of conventional chemical-derived pesticides against pests – also called insecticides.

“Farmers around the world need new forms of environmentally acceptable forms of insect control to protect their crops. This seed investment will enable our vision to complete the next stage of BioPhero’s development as we begin to bring many pheromones to the market,” says Irina Borodina, Research Director at BioPhero and Senior Researcher at The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability (DTU Biosustain).

"This seed investment will enable our vision to complete the next stage of BioPhero’s development as we begin to bring many pheromones to the market"
Irina Borodina, Research Director at BioPhero and Senior Researcher at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability (DTU Biosustain)

Commercialising technology

One of the investors on board, Novo Seeds have already invested in BioPhero with pre-seed grants through the early phases, but sees a great potential for further commercialising a novel technology for production of pheromones.

“The seed investment is a logical next step both for BioPhero and for Novo Seeds, as we aim to build successful ventures in the industrial biotechnology space,” says Thomas Grotkjær, Principal at Novo Seeds.

For Syddansk Innovation it was especially relevant to support the commercialisation of technology originating from a Danish university.

“We aim to commercialise groundbreaking innovation from the universities and we see BioPhero as a very promising university spinout,” emphasises Peter Smedegaard, Investment and Portfolio Manager at Syddansk Innovation.

Sector knowledge is crucial

The consortium of new investors will bring insight into the agricultural and the biotech market. Thus, they can provide valuable sector know-how that will help BioPhero to fulfil its mission of creating new innovative and sustainable alternatives in this field.

“Our investment in BioPhero expresses Syngenta’s commitment to stay at the forefront of delivering sustainable solutions. Pheromones could be a key part of managing pests in the future,” says Michael Lee, Director at Syngenta Ventures.

BioPhero was founded in 2016. Read more about it here

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