Apr 04, 2018
BioGenerator-backed AgTech Company Focuses on Naturally-Occurring Process
ST. LOUIS – RNAgri, a St. Louis startup developing technology for agriculture, has entered a research collaboration with global agriculture company Monsanto. The deal allows Monsanto to use RNAgri’s proprietary RNA production technology to produce RNA for research and development of RNA interference (RNAi) applications for agriculture and bee health.
This translates to a safe, scalable cost-effective, agricultural active that can control pests and disease or impact traits while maintaining an environmentally sustainable footprint.
RNA interference, or RNAi, is a naturally-occurring process, discovered by Nobel Prize winners Drs. Andrew Fire and Craig Mello. In agriculture, RNAi can result in decreased production of a protein to achieve a desirable physiological outcome or trait. RNAgri’s system produces RNA, which can be used to regulate targeted genes in plants, insects and fungi with effectiveness and specificity.
“In short, RNAi can selectively reduce expression of genes that are necessary for the pest or weed to live so that the insect or weed is no longer a threat to crops,” said Dr. John Killmer, RNAgri CEO.
In this collaboration with Monsanto, RNAgri will focus its technology on producing RNA to support Monsanto’s priority research and development projects. RNAgri has succeeded in cost-effectively producing its RNA products in mass quantities suitable for agriculture – an unmet need for over a decade. RNAgri’s patented technology can produce RNA in both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.