New ag-biotech company takes root in La Jolla

Press Release

Synthetic Genomics Inc. (SGI), a La Jolla-based company using genomics technology to develop biofuels, biochemicals, and new bio-based food products, and Plenus, S.A. de C.V., a Mexico-based investing and management company with extensive experience in a variety of business areas including agribusiness, have formed Agradis.

The new agricultural biotechnology company, with offices on North Torrey Pines Road and field research stations in the U.S. and Mexico, will focus on developing and commercializing products to sustainably improve crop production efficiency using new advances in genomics and plant breeding. Initially, Agradis will focus on producing superior crops through advances in genomics and developing crop protection and plant growth enhancing products using beneficial, plant-associated microorganisms.

Agradis has also closed a $20 million Series A financing round which will be used to establish the company infrastructure and to support product development and commercialization.

Agradis has an experienced management team that includes chief executive officer Alejandro Rodriguez, who has decades of experience in successfully commercializing agricultural products and advancing crop production technologies having worked at and with some of the top agriculture companies in the United States and Mexico.

Tom Christensen, whose background melds agricultural product development, business development leadership and advanced farming technologies, will serve as president.

“Building on the decades of breakthroughs in microbial and plant genomic sequencing and analysis SGI was founded with the notion that these new insights could help us develop higher yielding and more environmentally sustainable crops,” said J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., co-founder and co-chairman of Agradis and chairman and CEO of SGI. “We also had a vision that these plants could be successfully developed as new feedstocks for biofuels. Through the formation of Agradis with Plenus we now have the potential to realize these goals.”

Alfonso Romo is co-founder and co-chairman of Agradis and chairman and CEO, Plenus, S.A. de C.V.