Virginia Catalyst Awards $2.1 Million in Grants to Fund Collaborative Bioscience Research
RICHMOND, VA and CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – June 4, 2019 – The Virginia Catalyst, formerly known as the Virginia Biosciences Health Research Corporation (VBHRC), today announced that it has awarded $600,000 to AgroSpheres, INC. Virginia Catalyst provided a total of $2.1 million to four Virginia companies conducting cutting-edge research. These grants, which will be met with nearly $3.2 million in matching funds from partner companies, were awarded as Round 9 of Virginia Catalyst’s ongoing mission to stimulate economic development by promoting collaborative projects that address large, unmet needs for improving human health, and that can create high-paying jobs in the Commonwealth. Through this ninth round of funding, Virginia Catalyst has awarded 31 grants totaling over $15.9 million, resulting in a combined $33.4 million in matching funds and an additional $138 million in follow-on funding.
“AgroSpheres is delighted to be selected by Virginia Catalyst for a Round 9 Award. Our goal is to advance human health through agricultural practices by developing safer alternatives to chemical pesticides that are less costly. This award will help accelerate our path to market and significantly improve our ability to attract additional investments. We are looking forward to growing our company, right here in Charlottesville, VA.” – Payam Pourtaheri, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of AgroSpheres
AgroSpheres’ platform technology will be used to specifically combat harmful fungi while leaving the surrounding environment unharmed. AgroSpheres intends to be at the forefront of AgTech Innovation by collaborating with crop protection companies through strategic partnerships, and expanding its operations by adding key hires and lab space. The vote of confidence from Virginia Catalyst will aid in achieving this goal.
AgroSpheres Inc. is a Charlottesville, VA-based agricultural biotechnology company. AgroSpheres’ mission is to create products to enhance the delivery of crop protection products, making them safer and more environmentally friendly while also enhancing their efficacy. Co-founders, COO Payam Pourtaheri and CTO Ameer Shakeel developed AgroSpheres’ core technology while students at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and formed AgroSpheres to commercialize their technology.
About Virginia Catalyst
Virginia Biosciences Health Research Corporation (VBHRC), known as Virginia Catalyst, has a vision of advancing life sciences throughout Virginia as a means of addressing large unmet medical needs to improve human health and to create high-paying jobs throughout the Commonwealth. Funded by the Virginia General Assembly’s General fund, the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Tech, Eastern Virginia Medical School, George Mason University, Old Dominion University, and William and Mary, Virginia Catalyst has funding opportunities to support collaborative projects in the Commonwealth and is home to the Virginia Neuroscience Initiative. For more information, visit www.virginiacatalyst.org.