Hebei Lansheng Biotech Co., Ltd.

Agtech startup Innatrix looks to spread the word about its newly patented crop protectionqrcode

Apr. 8, 2021

Favorites Print
Forward
Apr. 8, 2021

By Chantal Allam

Innatrix is already training next-generation scientists how to protect crops using its newly patented platform.

The Research Triangle Park-based ag tech startup recently got the intellectual property protection for its protein evolution platform. It’s designed to screen highly specific protein ligands to safely and effectively address crop diseases such as citrus greening, potato late blight, and soybean cyst nematode.

Now Innatrix is teaming up with the Massachusetts-based nonprofit Station1 to host a 10-week internship, giving undergrad majors in STEM (science, technology engineering and math) a chance to see EvoStat in action.

“[It’s] not only important to show the interns, but also to show to the biotech industry that this new technology could contribute significantly to solving some big challenges,” Innatrix’s CEO Jiarui Li, Ph.D., said in an interview with the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

He said the challenges he believes the company can help overcome include insect and pathogen resistance on ag tech products, and speeding up protein purification processes for top-selling drugs.

“With more partnerships like this, companies like Innatrix will hopefully see tremendous growth in the near future.”

THE RESEARCH PROJECT

As part of the Station1 collaboration, Li will work with interns on a research project that involves crop protection against the invasive weed species palmer amaranth.

Palmer amaranth is a highly aggressive pigweed that can cause up to 91% losses in corn production, and up to 71% losses in soybean production.

Though farmers have been using herbicides and other synthetic chemicals to control this invasive weed, the species has developed resistance to these compounds.

But Innatrix scientists say they have a solution.

First, they find protein sequences within human gut and soil microbes with novel modes of action to target the weed’s herbicide resistance traits. Then they use the platform to further “optimize the sequences” and evolve new protein ligands fast and efficiently to combat this aggressive weed.

“Even when weeds, pathogens and pests eventually develop a resistance to Innatrix’s protein ligands, novel evolved proteins can be rapidly created to combat them to provide long-term control,” Li explains.

THE BEGINNING

Innatrix was founded in 2012 by then-CEO Marshall Edgell, Ph.D., a long-time member of the microbiology faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He’s also a former member of the NCBiotech board of directors.

Some insiders say the company’s platform may prove to be the next generation of phage display, a lab technique used for the high-throughput screening of protein interactions.

The startup has raised around $320,000 external funding to date, and Li says it has plans to commercialize its technology in the near future.

“We are currently focusing on using the platform to develop biological products to control economically important and devastating crop pathogens, late blight, citrus greening and soybean cyst nematode,” he says.


Picture 0/1200

More from AgroNews

Magazine

2021 Formulation & Adjuvant Technology 2021 Certified Organic Agri-inputs Guide
Chinese issue of Annual Review 2020 Annual Review 2020
2020 India Pesticide Suppliers Guide 2020 Market Insight
I wanna post a press Comment

Subscribe 

Subscribe Email: *
Name:
Mobile Number:  

Comment  

Picture 0/1200

Subscribe to daily email alerts of AgroNews.