Pluton Biosciences, a startup leveraging the power of microbes to create cost-effective innovative solutions that address sustainability challenges facing agriculture, announces the close of a $16.5 M Series A funding round. The round was co-led by Illumina Ventures and RA Capital, with participation from existing investors Fall Line Capital, The Grantham Foundation, and First In Ventures, as well as new investors Wollemi, Radicle Growth (first investment from their second fund), and iSelect.
“The funding will accelerate the development of Pluton’s flagship product, the Microbial Cover Crop™, through field trials and towards commercial partnerships,” remarked Elizabeth Gallegos, CEO of Pluton. “It will also enable us to expand our team, advance a microbial-derived pesticide to combat the fall armyworm, and harness the full potential of our Micromining™ platform to swiftly identify tailored solutions for agriculture.”
Illumina Ventures’ Charles Lin, PhD, who has joined Pluton’s Board of Directors, expressed his excitement about the fund’s first AgBio investment, “In the past two decades, we have witnessed how genomics revolutionized the landscape of human diagnostics and therapeutics. We expect genomics to also enable breakthroughs in agriculture. Pluton’s Micromining™ approach, combining genomics with rigorous data science, can unlock the potential of soil microbes for more sustainable agriculture and beyond.”
“Pluton’s technology will benefit farmers’ bottom lines as well as our environment,” said RA Capital’s Michael Gillespie, MD, who has also joined Pluton’s Board of Directors. “Microbial Cover Crops™ will enrich the soil with nitrogen to increase crop yields while reducing fertilizer costs, improving profits and sustainability, limiting erosion, and boosting both soil quality and carbon sequestration. We are proud to support Pluton in their work to improve nature’s toolkit and revolutionize agriculture.”
Concurrent with this investment, agricultural industry veterans Jerry Steiner and Neal Gutterson, Ph.D. also joined Pluton’s Board of Directors. Steiner, Board Executive Chair, is enthusiastic about Pluton’s promise to utilize discoveries to make a positive impact on both agriculture and climate, “Pluton’s vision of using the vast potential of microbial genetic diversity to make agriculture carbon-negative is inspiring. Our Micromining™ platform enables the vision, with field-level proof for the Microbial Cover Crop™ product building over the next few years. This product will complement many other innovations growers can use to improve their farms’ profitability while helping the planet.”