Enko raises $70M in crop protection Series C round — is there life after glyphosate?

July 27, 2022 |

From Connecticut comes news that crop protection tech pioneer Enko raised $70 million in Series C funding, bringing the company to an overall valuation of $320 million. Global agrochemical company Nufarm led the round — we’ve covered their NuSeed subsidiary extensively in recent years as it has invested in bringing carinata forward as a feedstock. More on that here.

In addition to Nufarm, investors include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Anterra Capital, Taher Gozal, Eight Roads Ventures, Finistere Ventures, Novalis LifeSciences, Germin8 Ventures, TO Ventures Food, Endeavor8, Alumni Ventures Group and Rabo Food & Agri Innovation Fund.

The Enko backstory

Enko is collaborating with Syngenta and Bayer on new chemistries. Enko’s target-based approach has generated its industry-leading discoveries in roughly half the time and with fewer resources than conventional R&D methods.

Since its start in 2017, Enko has generated hundreds of leading molecules across all categories of crop protection. Enko’s product pipeline is currently led by a range of herbicides that are demonstrating breakthrough performance compared to industry standards like glyphosate.      

Use of the proceeds

Enko will use the new funds to advance its product pipeline of crop protection chemistries that target critical pests and weeds through novel pathways. The funds will also expand Enko’s ENKOMPASS technology platform, which combines DNA-encoded library screening with machine learning and structure-based design to quickly find new, better performing and more targeted chemistries. 

Reaction from the stakeholders

“Reliance on outdated chemistries has led to rampant resistance that is threatening farmer livelihoods and our food supply,” said Enko CEO and founder Jacqueline Heard. “Enko’s digital platform massively increases the scale and discovery rate for new solutions, screening out off-target organisms from the get-go. The result is bringing safe and effective products to growers better, faster and cheaper. The need for this innovation has never been more urgent.”

On expanding their partnership, Nufarm Managing Director and CEO Greg Hunt said, “We were early investors in Enko and have followed the performance of their pipeline in the lab and field over the last two years with increased interest. As an agricultural innovator, Nufarm’s strategy is to partner with like-minded companies who recognize that innovation and technology are the future for sustainable agriculture practices. We were delighted to invest in this Series C financing round.”

 

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