Tropic Biosciences banks $28.5m in Temasek-led Series B for gene-editing, RNAi approach


"Losing a crop to a pest or disease is a devastating outcome for a farmer. If that farmer is based in a developing country without the promise of subsidies or crop insurance, it’s even direr. And in a pandemic world where food supply chains have tightened and been disrupted, the idea of losing whole fields of crops to disease seems unconscionable as many consumers across the world struggle to get hold of their usual staples.

The humble banana has been at risk for many years now from a virulent strain of Panama disease. Since it was first identified in Asia in 1989, this TR4 strain has devastated production of the widely grown Cavendish banana – a cultivar which was itself ironically introduced due to its disease-resistant qualities in the wake of an earlier Panama outbreak.

TR4 was discovered to have spread to the Americas last year. As bananas play such a crucial role both economically and nutritionally worldwide, companies are locked in a race to develop new varieties that can withstand TR4.

One such company is Tropic Biosciences in the UK. Today it closed a $28.5 million Series B round of funding led by Singapore state fund Temasek.

The Norwich-based startup uses plant-breeding and gene-editing technologies to develop high-performing varieties of tropical commodity crops. To date, it has been focusing on bananas and coffee, which it claims have a combined annual market value of over $50 billion and generate employment for more than 500 million people around the world."

Original post written by Jack Ellis and can be found Here


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