Virginia Catalyst Awards $600,000 to AgroSpheres
RICHMOND, VA – October 28, 2021 – The Virginia Catalyst, also known as the Virginia Biosciences Health Research Corporation (VBHRC), today announced that it has awarded $600,000 in grant funding to AgroSpheres. This grant, which will be met with significant matching funds was awarded through Grant Round 12 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.
“We are excited to continue our mission of supporting collaborations and fostering economic growth in Virginia’s life sciences, enabling the Commonwealth to compete on a national and global scale,” said Mike Grisham, CEO, Virginia Catalyst. “The critical mass achieved by these collaborations provides Virginia with competitive advantages over other states and has resulted in significant outside capital being invested to finance the commercialization of Virginia’s innovations and create significant high-paying jobs for the Commonwealth.”
“AgroSpheres is grateful for the continued support from VA Catalyst. Our first award from Virginia Catalyst helped seed our innovative RNAi-based biofungicide. The successful execution of the grant cemented us as a leader in developing the next generation of environmentally friendly crop health products. With Round 12 funding, the AgroSpheres research team led by Ameer Shakeel will continue working collaboratively with Dr. Kester of UVA and Dr. Sherif of Virginia Tech to field test a broad-spectrum fungicide that is better for the environment. We are excited to recruit Dr. Taghavi of Virginia State University (VSU), one of the top HBCUs in the country, to evaluate the post-harvest control of our biofungicide. Her expertise in postharvest disease models will help us tackle another major global problem: food waste. Virginia is becoming an innovative hub for AgBiotech thanks to our state-of-the-art research facilities, thriving, inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem, and hardworking farmers. This award will help accelerate our path to regulatory approval.” – Payam Pourtaheri, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of AgroSpheres
About Virginia Catalyst
Virginia Biosciences Health Research Corporation (VBHRC), doing business 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, and Old Dominion University. Virginia Catalyst has funding opportunities to support collaborative projects in the Commonwealth. For more information, visit www.virginiacatalyst.org.
AgroSpheres envisions a future built by nature’s technologies. Located in Charlottesville, VA, the company’s mission is to transform agriculture through reliable and affordable biobased solutions. AgroSpheres’ patented AgriCell and AgriShell technologies enable the development of biological pesticides that are cost-effective, shelf-stable, and consistent in the field. Its RNA interference (RNAi) bioprocess works by silencing vital genes of a target pest/pathogen, preventing off-target damage to non-harmful insects like bees, helping to promote biodiversity. For more information, visit www.agrospheres.com.