Designing the next generation of biopesticides using safe, environmentally-friendly peptides
Headquarters Durham, North Carolina, United States
Recent winner of the Green Chemistry award, Vestaron is leading a peptide-based revolution in crop protection. They are committed to providing growers with novel, effective chemistries that safely kill pests while having no adverse effects on the natural ecosystem. Additionally, their peptides overcome existing resistance issues of pesticides while offering the desired safety profile for workers, beneficials, and the environment.
- Vestaron is bringing a novel class of molecules to crop protection. Our peptides (small proteins) do something revolutionary, which is to combine the efficacy of traditional small-molecule synthetic chemicals with the safety and sustainability of biologics. We are using these peptides to “re-drug” the proven multi-billion dollar insect receptor targets that have formed the basis of modern insecticidal chemistry with safe, environmentally friendly molecules. In doing this, we provide solutions to growers that overcome growing resistance issues with traditional chemistries, provide safety to workers and beneficial insects and create significant operational advantages, flexibility and cost savings in their pest management systems. We successfully commercialized our first peptide, Spear, in 2020. We expect to commercialize our second in 2023 and begin bringing two to market per year beginning in 2024.
- Vestaron as an organization has completely transformed itself over the past 3.5 years. Prior to this, it was a 15 person R&D platform company, focused on overcoming some of the key technical hurdles associated with turning insecticidal peptides into viable commercial products. Realizing in late 2017 that it had largely succeeded prompted the search for a more commercially oriented CEO to build the company into one capable of manufacturing and commercializing its own products. Anna Rath joined in April of 2018. The company now has 50 people including operations, regulatory and commercial teams. We are manufacturing at scale and profitably. We have successfully commercialized our first peptide, Spear. We are successfully moving additional peptides through the pipeline, and we are beginning our international expansion, expecting to launch in Mexico later this year and Canada for the 2022 growing season.
- Vestaron is backed by an extremely strong investor syndicate. This includes traditional AgTech VC funds such as Anterra Capital, CGC Ventures, Cultivian Sandbox, Pangaea Ventures and Open Prairie Ventures, strategics such as Syngenta Ventures and Cavallo Ventures (the venture arm of Wilbur-Ellis) and life science investors such as Novo Holdings and Northpond Ventures. Both Novo and Northpond had made the decision that AgTech was of interest and had looked at many potential investments in the space, but Vestaron was the first investment each decided to make, with Novo leading Vestaron’s Series B and Northpond leading the Series B-1.
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