– Financing will be used to further develop proprietary discovery platform and progress pipeline targeting disease control and weed suppression
– Company well positioned to enter and transform the EUR 47 billion-plus market for pesticides, initially targeting $28 billion herbicides and fungicides markets in Americas and Europe
TOULOUSE, France – Micropep technologies (Micropep), an agricultural biotech company developing breakthrough peptide-based biological products for agriculture, today announces it has raised EUR 8.5 million (USD 10 million) in an oversubscribed Series A investment led by new investor Supernova Invest with participation from FMC Ventures, and existing investors Sofinnova Partners and IRDI Capital Investissement.
Based in Toulouse, France, Micropep was spun out from Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) and Toulouse University in 2016, a centre of excellence for AgriTech. The company has developed a proprietary technology to precisely enhance plant traits without altering DNA by spraying “miPEPs”, a unique family of natural peptides regulating plant microRNAs.
miPEPs will influence all plant phenotypes regulated by microRNAs including, germination, early growth, disease resistance and flowering. Leveraging the potential of these natural peptides, the company is now developing a pipeline of “sprayable traits” biosolutions to control resistant weeds such as Palmer Amaranth and protect plants against major diseases, primarily targeting the $28 billion American and European herbicides and fungicides markets.
Romain Sautrau, Investment Director at Supernova Invest will join the Board of Directors and Sara Olson, Principal at FMC Ventures, along with Jean-Michel Petit, Investment Director at IRDI Capital Investissement will be joining as Observers to the Board.
Thomas Laurent, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, said: “In an industry that has been challenged by a shrinking discovery pipeline, active ingredients that are slowly being phased out and increased pest and weeds resistance to chemicals, our technology provides a ground-breaking alternative. Peptides and small proteins have a great potential for sustainable crop protection solutions and Micropep is proud to lead the field in this area. Using our proprietary discovery platform we can improve plant health naturally, using the plant’s own mechanisms, identifying novel and safe active ingredients with a 100x better hit rate compared with conventional methods. This financing will allow us to begin field testing of our promising compounds, the next milestone in commercialising our product.”
Romain Sautrau, Investment Director at Supernova Invest, said: “Micropep’s cutting edge technology has the potential to disrupt tomorrow’s agriculture. As a committed investor in promising deeptech companies, we look forward to leveraging our extensive experience in AgriTech to back Thomas and his best-in-class platform in order to build a new market leader.”
Denis Lucquin, Partner and Senior Advisor at Sofinnova Partners, commented: “We are delighted to see the progress at Micropep, a company where Sofinnova was the first investor. We look forward to working with this talented team and group of renowned investors as Micropep continues to validate and scale up its exciting technology targeting disease control and weed suppression.”
Amar Singh, Managing Director of FMC Ventures, said: “Micropep’s pioneering technology can enhance plant traits without altering plant DNA and circumvents the challenges of GMOs and costs of RNAi. This novel approach has the potential to develop first-in-class biological ‘traits’ – a game changer set against a landscape of regulatory headwinds, emerging resistance, and a global push for sustainable crop protection technologies.”
Kevin Smith, Chairman of the Board of Directors, concluded: “The success of the latest fundraising round confirms the confidence of our world-class syndicate of investors in Micropep’s exceptional potential to radically transform agriculture with unique and differentiated biosolutions which will contribute to satisfying consumer demand for improved food safety.”
About Micropep Technologies
Micropep was founded in 2016 in Toulouse, France, as a spin out from Toulouse University, a centre of excellence for AgriTech. The company has developed an innovative discovery platform for the development of novel peptide-based biological products for agriculture. It identifies and enhances the expression of naturally occurring, micro-RNA derived, regulatory peptides (miPEPs) that can transiently regulate the expression of plants’ microRNAs and their targeted genes conferring resistance to pathogens and increasing plant health. The Company has been supported by Sofinnova and Irdi Soridec since 2018.
For more information, please visit https://www.micro-pep.com/
About Supernova Invest
Supernova Invest is a cutting-edge venture capital firm with a leading position in the French deeptech investment market. It manages and advises five capital funds for a total of €260 million AUM. Supernova Invest specializes in breakthrough technologies, developing start-ups in Industry, Health, Energy& Environment and Digital Technology sectors. The team has 20 years of technology investment experience and has provided more than 100 of the most innovative companies in their segments with support and guidance from creation until full maturity. Supernova Invest has a strong partnership with both the CEA (the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) and Amundi (the European leader in asset management).
About Sofinnova Partners
Sofinnova Partners is a leading European venture capital firm in life sciences, specializing in healthcare and sustainability. Based in Paris, London and Milan, the firm brings together a team of professionals from all over the world with strong scientific, medical and business expertise. Sofinnova Partners is a hands-on company builder across the entire value chain of life sciences investments, from seed to later-stage. The firm actively partners with ambitious entrepreneurs as a lead or cornerstone investor to develop transformative innovations that have the potential to positively impact our collective future.
Founded in 1972, Sofinnova Partners is a deeply-established venture capital firm in Europe, with 50 years of experience backing over 500 companies and creating market leaders around the globe. Today, Sofinnova Partners has over €2 billion under management.
For more information, please visit: www.sofinnovapartners.com
About FMC Ventures
FMC Ventures evaluates emerging technologies of relevance to the agricultural industry and will invest in those that create a unique strategic advantage for FMC. Agriculture’s most pressing challenges are being addressed through advances in artificial intelligence (AI), genomics, robotics, precision agriculture, biopesticides, synthetic biology and other innovations. As progress in these disciplines converge, they will radically alter how crop inputs are developed, sold, and applied. The new venture capital arm of FMC will focus investments in these advanced technology areas.
About IRDI Capital Investissement
IRDI Capital Investissement is one of the benchmark players in regional private equity with nearly € 400M under management. Active for 40 years, IRDI supports more than 200 companies in the Occitanie and Nouvelle-Aquitaine regions, deploying a multisectoral approach in which environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues have their place.
For more information: https://www.irdi.fr/