Vestaron wants farmers to know that its peptide-based products are different from existing microbial products, offering more consistent efficacy with the same environmental benefits.
Peptide-based biopesticide company Vestaron closed a $40 million Series B led by Danish life sciences group Novo Holdings alongside continuing investors Anterra Capital, Cultivian Sandbox, Open Prairie Ventures, and Pangaea Ventures.
Peptides are small proteins with proven modes of action, making them just as effective as traditional synthetics, according to the Michigan-based startup. Biologics, in general, are a new class of crop inputs that aim to help farmers reduce their dependence on conventional chemical crop inputs that have lead to a number of environmental stresses. The news is full of headlines detailing Monsanto’s legal battles over its herbicide product Roundup and its link to cancer, while farmers in the midwest are battling herbicide-resistant superweeds, to name a few examples.
Some conventional products are even facing legal bans that would prohibit their use entirely. The US Environmental Protection Agency announced earlier this month the cancellation of registrations for 12 neonicotinoid pesticides.
Rath agrees that farmers are skeptical about biologics, noting that many of these products often only work in certain specific conditions. Vestaron has had to work to educate farmers about its peptide-based products, which are not akin to microbials, she says. Instead, they are much more similar to the small molecule synthetics that growers are accustomed to applying to their crops…