Sector News

Food gene-editing firm Pairwise raises $90m in funding round

February 5, 2021
Consumer Packaged Goods

Agtech start-up Pairwise has secured $90 million in a Series B funding round, as it looks to develop and bring genetically enhanced produce to North America.

Pairwise aims to build a healthier, more sustainable world by combining its gene-editing capabilities, crop science expertise and data technique to cultivate better fruits and vegetables.

The round was led by capital investor Pontifax AgTech and existing investor Deerfield Management, while Temasek and Leaps by Bayer also joined the round.

Through addressing challenges with flavours, shelf life and availability, Pairwise aims to boost fresh produce consumption. Using its CRISPR technology, the company is working on cultivating better fruits and vegetables varieties, which have improved taste, enhanced convenience, increased shelf life, improved yield, simplified harvesting and lengthened season availability.

The US start-up is currently developing new types of leafy green, berries and cherries and expects to launch its first gene-edited produce by 2022.

“People see innovation all around them, except in the produce aisle. We will give consumers new options that make healthy eating easier and more exciting,” said Pairwise CEO Tom Adams.

“With this additional funding from industry-leading investors, Pairwise is taking a bold step toward achieving our mission of building a healthier world,” he added.

The funding follows Pairwise’s $25 million Series A round back in March 2018, which was led by Deerfield and what is now called Leaps by Bayer, to develop its gene editing platform and product portfolio. At the same time, the company announced a $100 million ongoing collaboration with Bayer Crop Science to advance gene editing tools in corn, soybeans, wheat and canola.

Pontifax AgTech co-founder and managing partner, Ben Belldegrun, said: “Our investment in Pairwise reflects our thematic focus on the convergence of biotechnology and agriculture and the use of CRISPR technology to improve health and nutrition in food and agriculture.

“We believe that the combination of Pairwise’s gene editing platform, plant breeding expertise, and consumer food understanding creates a powerful engine that will be a game changer.”

In less than three years, Pairwise has grown to 100 team members across two locations in Durham, North Carolina, with additional growth anticipated for 2021.

By Emma Upshall

Source: foodbev.com

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