Monsanto Growth Ventures, Caixa Capital Risc, Middleland Capital and Novozymes have taken part in a €5.7m series-A for Spanish crop protection specialist PlantResponse Biotech.
The round was led by Monsanto's VC arm, which typically acts as both a fund-of-funds and as a direct investor in agrotechnology companies.
Investing alongside the firm were corporate Novozymes and fellow VCs Caixa Capital Risc and Middleland Capital. Caixa drew equity from its Innvierte BioMed II fund, a €35m series-A-focused vehicle that seeks biotech assets.
Under their shareholding, PlantResponse will look to launch new products and accelerate the commercial deployment of existing crop protection lines. Having recently secured a patent for a newly-developed drought protection gene from the US authorities, the business will reinforce its R&D ranks via new hires.
Over the next few years, PlantResponse expects to increase its share within the €300m-strong Spanish agrobiological market, which was recently estimated to grow at an annual 15%. According to the company's figures, the country's crop protection segment generated a €900m turnover in 2014, a 22.6% uptick on the 2013 values.
Co-founded by researchers Antonio Molina Fernández and Pablo Rodriguez Palenzuela in March 2008, PlantResponse Biotech is a Universidad Politécnica de Madrid spin-off that specialises in biological strategies for crop protection purposes.
The company develops enhanced plant genes to improve the health and productivity of crop species and boost their resistance to pathogens and water stress.
Monsanto's work on the deal was led by director Kiersten Stead, who will head PlantResponse's executive board after the round. Also joining the board will be Carlos Esteban, an investment analyst at Caixa. Middleland was represented by managing director Scott Horner. Eduardo Quemada McGuckian is currently CEO at PlantResponse.
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