Our mission at Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. (NYSE: ARE) is to create and cultivate collaborative, innovation clusters that enable breakthroughs to advance human health and improve nutrition; this mission is now more important than ever.
While the COVID-19 pandemic impacts each of us differently, we know that one of the most important actions we can undertake at Alexandria is to maintain our critical laboratory infrastructure and continue supporting innovative agtech companies through our investment arm. For our agtech tenants and investment portfolio companies at the Alexandria Center for AgTech in Research Triangle, NC, the COVID-19 crisis has magnified the urgency of their efforts to transform the food supply chain and enhance the nutritional value of food. For companies at the early-stage level, the crisis has highlighted the timeliness of our AgTech Innovation Prize.
Alexandria LaunchLabs – AgTech, our platform accelerating early-stage agtech company growth, launched its inaugural $100,000 AgTech Innovation Prize to support early-stage agtech and foodtech companies that demonstrate novel approaches to addressing agriculture, food and nutrition-related challenges.
The national competition sought innovators working across an array of areas to transform the food value chain, including crop enhancement and protection, digital and data solutions, animal health, breeding and genetics, next-generation farming, and food and supply chain solutions. Approximately 70 emerging agtech applicant companies from 20 states applied. The multi-phase competition was ultimately narrowed down to seven finalists — New York-based Agrynex and Ascribe Bioscience, Illinois’ EarthSense, California’s GALY, Missouri’s Mazen Animal Health, and TerMir and TreeCo from North Carolina.
The seven companies virtually presented their novel work before a panel of judges, who included leaders from Alexandria’s preeminent life science and agtech networks. Each company’s differentiated technologies represented an array of agtech areas and exhibited the potential to make a meaningful impact on the agtech and food sectors.
And the winner is…..
The North Carolina–based agtech company is pioneering an innovative and environmentally safe treatment for citrus greening disease — one of the most devastating citrus diseases in the world.
Citrus greening has resulted in a drop in citrus production and harvesting while driving up costs and job losses. In response to this incurable agricultural, environmental and human health challenge, TerMir has developed a cutting-edge and effective formulation with the potential to eradicate the disease.
Alexandria recognized TerMir for its proprietary, patent-protected technology that contains a new mode of action for controlling the bacteria that causes citrus greening disease; its experienced leadership team; and its traction in the agtech industry. TerMir’s systemic formulation breaks the disease cycle by eliminating bacteria within a tree’s vascular system. The company also has field trials underway for a naturally based, biological herbicide to enhance crop growth.
As the winning company, TerMir received a $75,000 cash prize and a one-year membership to Alexandria LaunchLabs – AgTech, worth an additional $25,000, to support the advancement of its innovative technologies.
“The TerMir team is excited to be selected as the prize winner and to become an active member of the campus communities of Alexandria LaunchLabs – AgTech and the Alexandria Center for AgTech,” said Chad Brommer, PhD, co-founder of TerMir. “We look forward to making the most of Alexandria’s world-class network of industry experts and investors and its unparalleled offerings.”
Alexandria LaunchLabs – AgTech is located at the Alexandria Center for AgTech in Research Triangle, NC, and provides its member companies with highly flexible office/laboratory and greenhouse space, operational mentorship, strategic programming, access to seed capital through the Alexandria Seed Capital Platform and engagement with Alexandria’s expansive network. During this pandemic, Alexandria has implemented and continues to enhance its comprehensive COVID-19 operational measures to promote a safe and productive work environment for its member companies, making it possible for their critical research and development efforts to continue.
It is critical that we continue providing promising agtech companies with the necessary environments and resources for growth. Startups like TerMir will help us address the unresolved agricultural, environmental and human health challenges brought to light in the face of a growing population, shifting consumer eating habits, changing weather patterns, and now in the era of COVID-19, and will contribute to a brighter and healthier future for generations to come.
We are currently accepting applications for future LaunchLabs members in Cambridge, Greater Los Angeles, New York City, Research Triangle and Seattle. Visit www.alexandrialaunchlabs.com to learn more.
**This article was sponsored by Alexandria, an AgFunder Network Partner. Learn more here.**