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AgBiome Innovations to develop broad-spectrum biological fungicide

AgBiome has established AgBiome Innovations, which will commercialize technology identified by the company through its Genesis discovery and development platform. The division is led by an experienced team of agricultural and turf and ornamental industry leaders and is gearing up to launch its first product, a broad-spectrum biological fungicide, in early 2017.

"For us, it's always been about finding efficacious, environmentally friendly ways to help growers get more out of their crops," says Dr. Phil Hammer, director of research. "Our team has isolated, sequenced and screened thousands of microbes, and discovered multiple new mode-of-action traits and highly effective biologicals. By establishing AgBiome Innovations and attracting a stellar team to lead it, we are taking the next critical steps to ensure our discoveries are made available to growers with the best possible support and stewardship."

The team
To help launch the new AgBiome Innovations unit, the company has recruited individuals with proven track records in leading successful businesses and bringing new traits as well as synthetic and biological products to the market. The AgBiome Innovations team includes:

John Rabby (AgBiome Innovations Commercial Director)
John is a former group vice president of BASF in North America, CEO of Makhteshim Agan, North America, and executive board member of Crop Life America. John uses his 40 years of experience in the ag industry to lead the AgBiome Innovations business.

Lee Simmons, Ph.D. (AgBiome Innovations Technical Director)
Lee is responsible for overseeing all field technical trials, label and commercial product development. He is a plant pathologist and nematologist and has developed several nematicidal, fungicidal and fumigant products in his 20 years in the business.

Ted Piatt (AgBiome Innovations Sales Director)
Ted directs distribution and sales strategies with potential licensing and distribution partners to develop and service sales channels for new products. He has 35 years of leadership experience in the agricultural and turf and ornamental industries.

Kyle Beery, Ph.D. (AgBiome Innovations Production Manager)
Kyle is a biochemical engineer with more than 20 years of experience in fermentation and production technology. He interfaces with the business, research and development teams to coordinate the commercial production of biological pesticides.

Natarajan "Bala" Balachander, Ph.D. (Business Development Director, AgBiome)
Bala focuses on new technology development and commercialization (including research and development partnerships) of seed treatments, enhancements, coatings, production and agronomics. He has more than two decades of experience in new technology development and new product commercialization for the agricultural industry.

The first product
AgBiome Innovations is developing a broad-spectrum, biological fungicide that is currently in regulatory review at EPA. This product demonstrates efficacy superior to any previously available biological fungicide as extensive trials have shown performance similar to, or better than, synthetic fungicides for controlling brown patch and other Rhizoctonia diseases, Pythium blight and other Pythium root rots, Botrytis (gray mold), and several other common pathogens. Product launch, pending EPA registration, is scheduled for early 2017 for turf and ornamental applications.

"It's exciting to see our discoveries taken up by the AgBiome Innovation team," says Dr. Kelly Smith, AgBiome's Director of Microbials Development. "There's no better feeling than seeing our efforts in the lab prove out in the field and get in the hands of growers."

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