Biotechnology firm Divergence, Inc., a world leader in developing products for the control of parasites in agriculture and medicine, today announced that it has raised $11.8 million in a Series C financing round that will further its efforts to create solutions for one of the major causes of crop yield loss for farmers.
St. Louis, MO (PREWB) February 11, 2009 -- Biotechnology firm Divergence, Inc., a world leader in developing products for the control of parasites in agriculture and medicine, today announced that it has raised $11.8 million in a Series C financing round that will further its efforts to create solutions for one of the major causes of crop yield loss for farmers.
MidPoint Food and Ag Fund LP acted as lead investor in the round. Other institutional investors included Prolog Ventures LP and certain partners of William Blair & Co. The round included 41 returning investors including all members of Divergence's Board of Directors. The financing more than doubles the amount of equity capital raised by the company since its inception.
Proceeds from the financing will be used to advance Divergence's nematicide program. The company is developing molecules for the control of plant parasitic nematodes. Nematode control is the largest unsolved pest problem in agriculture limiting the yield of crops worldwide and causing billions of dollars in crop damage annually. Divergence has discovered the first novel mode of action for this market in more than 20 years. The new molecules feature human and environment safety profiles that are vastly superior to traditional nematicides. The funding will also support the Company's continued development of crops that are resistant to nematodes, as well as its innovative, broad-based research platforms Harvest™, STEM™ and RNA interference.
"This financing, especially given the sophistication of the participating investors, provides further validation of Divergence's revolutionary technology and the rapid advancements of our projects in parasite control," said Derek K. Rapp, Chief Executive Officer of Divergence. "Through our internal programs and corporate alliances in crop protection and animal health, Divergence is committed to the development of parasite control products for higher yielding agriculture and healthier people and animals. Upon the completion of this financing, Ronald L. Meeusen, Ph.D., Partner of Midpoint Food & Ag Fund, LP, will join the Divergence Board of Directors. Dr. Meeusen brings to Divergence more than 25 years of corporate experience in agricultural biotechnology. "There is tremendous value in the cutting-edge science of Divergence," said Dr. Meeusen. "As the first company in our investment portfolio, Divergence exemplifies our goal to invest in companies that can enable environmentally sustainable agriculture and offer promise for human and animal wellness."
With the addition of Dr. Meeusen, the Board of Directors of Divergence stands at seven people - Stanford J. Goldblatt, Partner and Head of the Private Equity Practice at Winston & Strawn; James P. McCarter, M.D., Ph.D., President and Chief Scientific Officer of Divergence; John W. McCarter, Jr., President and CEO of the Field Museum in Chicago; Ronald L. Meeusen, Ph.D., Partner of MidPoint Food and Ag Fund, LP; Ilya B. Nykin, Managing Director of Prolog Ventures; Derek K. Rapp, Chief Executive Officer of Divergence; and Mark W. Wong, President and CEO of Agrivida, Inc.
Divergence, Inc., a world leader in the application of genomics and informatics to agriculture and infectious disease, discovers and develops products for the safe and effective control of parasites. The company's initial focus is on parasitic nematodes, devastating unseen pests that cause billions of dollars in crop loss annually and widespread disease in humans and animals. For more information visit Divergence's Web site at www.divergence.com.
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