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Source: Agragene news release

San Diego, CA - Agragene, Inc., a sustainable agricultural technology company developing eco-friendly alternatives to chemical pesticides, announced today that it has raised an additional $4 million in Series A financing from Ospraie Ag Science (OAS), the venture arm of New York-based Ospraie Management. The additional funding will expand field trials of Knock-Out, their first Precision-Guided Sterile Insect Technology product, as well as their semiochemical attractant-product Border Patrol.

The announcement of another round of OAS funding comes in advance of the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit September 15-16, where bio-based products will take center stage as global demand soars for more sustainable agri-food solutions.

"We're thrilled by the additional investment and vote of confidence from Ospraie Ag Science," said Agragene CEO Gordon Alton. "They clearly understand the value of our approach to biological crop protection, which displaces insecticides, reduces costs and protects the environment. Our solutions are not only more sustainable, they're more cost effective-a win-win for growers and the environment."

Agragene's Knock-Out product utilizes a CRISPR-based approach to engineer sterile males that mate with female crop pests in the field. The result is "insect birth control" -- unfertilized insect eggs that produce no offspring and naturally control the pest population without chemicals. Applied via drone and more affordable than traditional chemical formulations, Agragene's Precision-Guided Sterile Insect Technology (pgSIT) is safe for bees, birds and workers.

Border Patrol, the company's innovative attract-and-kill product, uses a proprietary semiochemical formulation on a fiber mat to attract pests. Females lay their eggs on the mat, where their larvae dry out and die. Alton likens the approach to "cherry jam on a triscuit."

"Our formulation is proving highly effective and when compared to similar products on the market, will require far fewer 'traps' per acre for a much lower overall cost," said Alton. "Moreover, we'll be offering it via a service model, with certified Agragene technicians placing and activating mats for customers. This creates a simple, effective and sustainable approach at a lower price."

Knock-Out and Border Patrol are the first two innovations in Agragene's integrated pest management system, which is designed for enhanced sustainability, simplicity and cost-effectiveness. The company has additional products in the pipeline for real-time insect detection and mating disruption.

"Agragene is demonstrating the kind of exciting innovation that will shift the industry toward increasing yield efficiencies naturally," said Jason Mraz, Ospraie Management Co-Founder. "Their Knock-Out and Border Patrol products simultaneously reduce chemicals and costs, so they truly meet our objective of 'helping farmers do more with less.'"

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