MoA Technology Limited (MoA) has raised £6.3 million in Series A round to develop its crop protection discovery platforms in a bid to avert the global herbicide resistance crisis.
Overuse of a small range of herbicides in the last 30 years has led to increasing levels of weed resistance worldwide. Spun out from Oxford University’s research labs in 2018, MoA Technology was set up to address this challenge. The company is focused on the discovery of next generation sustainable herbicides with new modes of action from both natural and synthetic chemistry. MoA Technology has developed three proprietary platforms: MoA Galaxy, MoA Target and MoA Select. The platforms are based upon a unique combination of genetics, trait analysis and data analytics to identify new, effective and environmentally sustainable herbicides.
“Weeds are now a greater threat to crop yields than at any time in recent decades. New solutions are urgently needed. Raising £6 million at this stage in the company’s development is a real testament to the strength of the company’s prospects,” said Hadyn Parry, chairman at MoA.
The funding round was co-led by Oxford Sciences Innovation, the world’s largest university venture fund, and Parkwalk, the largest EIS growth fund manager focused on university spinouts. Oxford University Innovation, the University’s innovation arm, assisted in spinning the company out in 2018.
Liam Dolan, Sherardian Professor of Botany at the Department of Plant Sciences, Oxford University and one of the co-founders of MoA, added:
“In recent years industry has moved from high throughput screening to lower throughput in-vivo plant screening but neither method has been successful in uncovering marketable herbicides that have new modes of action. We have redesigned the discovery process in its entirety. Not only do we focus on identifying new potential modes of action at the outset, our platform combines in-vivo screening with a high throughput capability that we believe is a first in this industry. Early results are extremely promising.”
Over the next couple of years, MoA Technology plan to generate several new product candidates to take into development and to create industrial partnerships that can then take these products to market.