Denmark: BioPhero, the insect pheromone company, today announced it has raised $17 million in Series A funding led by DCVC Bio with participation from new investor FMC Ventures, as well as existing investors Syngenta Group Ventures and Novo Holdings. The company, which has a mission to replace many chemical insecticides with sustainable biological insect pheromones, will use this funding to ramp up production of several products and to produce pheromones at the quantity, quality, and price required to allow farmers to control major pests in a variety of row crops.
Pheromones, being non-toxic, can be a powerful tool to achieve the objective of insect pest control, while avoiding the negative impacts on the environment and biodiversity associated with the overuse of synthetic chemicals. Pheromones are naturally produced by insects, but they can also be used very effectively to control the buildup of pest populations in farmers’ fields by disrupting their mating process. They are highly sustainable as they are insect-specific and non-toxic. Not only can they replace insecticide use but they can also reduce over-application by helping to prevent the buildup of resistance against both chemical insecticides and GM seeds.
Following its seed round in 2018, BioPhero developed – and scaled up – new and efficient production methods for insect pheromones using microbial fermentation. The production processes use renewable raw materials, produce less waste than the traditional chemical synthesis, and – crucially – are able to deliver insect pheromones at the cost, quality, and volume required for row crops such as wheat, maize, rice, and soybeans. BioPhero has successfully demonstrated that it can produce pheromones at a tonne-scale, and the company is now ready to start production of its first product and to make it available to customers and development partners around the world.