UK-based Tropic Biosciences, an agricultural biotechnology company developing banana varieties resistant to Fusarium Wilt Tropical Race IV (TR4), has raised £22.4 million in equity.
The Series B funding round was led by Temasek, a global investment company headquartered in Singapore. Proceeds from what the company says is "the largest ever funding in the UK AgriTech sector" will accelerate Tropic’s growth trajectory through field trials for its novel banana varieties. They will also further commercialization of its proprietary GEiGS (Gene Editing induced Gene Silencing) technology platform, and the development of high-impact traits in rice. “Together we are taking another major step forward in building a leading seed business that addresses the unique needs of growers in tropical nations," said Gilad Gershon, CEO of Tropic Biosciences. "Humanity’s battle against the Covid-19 pandemic is rapidly accelerating the need for technological solutions that promote food security on a global scale." Tropic is focused on a crop portfolio of bananas and coffee, which currently face a wide range of critical challenges, from diseases and pests to climate change. Since 2018, Tropic says it has been taking a leadership role in the development of novel banana varieties that are resistant to TR4, which experts describe as an existential threat to the banana industry. The company says its GEiGS technology is instrumental in its ability to provide a solution to the disease and has been an enabling factor in its plan to transition to field trials in Latin America and Southeast Asia. Tropic is also developing varieties of banana with longer shelf lives, alongside lines of coffee with reduced caffeine and increased solubility; all of which contribute to a significant reduction in chemical processing requirements. Using funds from the Series B round, Tropic will further enhance the technology platform and scale it for use by a growing number of clients across a variety of agricultural segments.