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Agriculture

FMC launches venture arm, forms two collaborations

by Melody M. Bomgardner
July 4, 2020 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 98, ISSUE 26

 

The Agricultural chemical firm FMC has launched FMC Ventures to invest in start-ups developing emerging crop protection technologies. FMC CEO Mark Douglas says the venture arm will seek out early-stage firms with sustainable innovations that complement FMC’s portfolio and deliver strong return on investment. Specifically, FMC is keen on start-ups specializing in artificial intelligence (AI), genomics, robotics, precision agriculture, biopesticides, and synthetic biology. Douglas did not disclose the amount of funding that will be available. The venture’s first investment is in Trace Genomics, a start-up using DNA sequencing and machine learning to develop biological products that counter soil pathogens harmful to plants. Bayer, Corteva, and Syngenta—FMC’s larger competitors—also have venture capital arms that invest in agriculture start-ups. Separately, FMC announced a collaboration with Cyclica to use the biotech company’s AI platform to find new molecules that control crop pests and diseases. Cyclia’s tools include deep-learning proteome screening and machine-learning technology to predict molecular properties.

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