PlantResponse Biotech announces Tom Warner as new independent board chairman
Tom Warner
Photo courtesy of PlantResponse Biotech

PlantResponse Biotech announces Tom Warner as new independent board chairman

The company also announced a $6.9 Million Series B first-round funding close and a new North American commercial headquarters.

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December 17, 2018
Press Release

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — PlantResponse Biotech has announced the close on the first round of its Series B investment. The $6.9 million raised will support further growth of the global company through their new commercial headquarters in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, according to a press release. Yara Germinate and iSelect join Bayer Ventures, Middleland Capital and Novozymes in this round.

Tom Warner, previously of Nutrien Ag Solutions, has also been announced as the company’s new independent chairman of the board to steer North American direction and global expansion. “This investment is critical to the future of PlantResponse Biotech,” he said. “We have a strong product lineup and this new round of funding will greatly facilitate the expansion and promotion of those products.”

PlantResponse Biotech is an agricultural technology company focused on developing solutions for plant health, stress mitigation and nutrient management. Research and development efforts, combined with a global agronomic testing capability, have produced multiple product candidates that are at or near commercialization, with additional promising candidates in the pipeline, according to the release. The company will use the funding to develop its new North American headquarters, as well as build out its commercialization and retail partnerships.

“We are excited to take part in PlantResponse Biotech’s journey to deliver solutions that support a healthier, more resilient agriculture sector,” said Erkki Aaltonen, director of venture investments with Yara International. “As a leader in the large and growing agricultural biotech market, it was a perfect match for Yara to invest smart money in PlantResponse Biotech to accelerate innovations that address the needs of a changing world. At Yara, we are in a position to help set startups up for success and growth, given our position on sustainability, global presence, technological and agronomic knowledge and emerging digital capabilities. Together we are better positioned to continue delivering on our mission to responsibly feed the world and protect the planet.”

“The promise of PlantResponse Biotech’s R&D pipeline is leveraged by its unique, collaborative academic model,” said Juergen Eckhardt, head of Bayer Venture Investments. “Through partnerships with leading EU academic organizations, they are able to successfully bring innovative new discoveries from the lab to the market.”

Warner, former president of North American retail at Nutrien Ag Solutions, said he hopes to assist the PlantResponse Biotech leadership team in pursuing growth not only organically, but also through opportunities for consolidation and acquisitions, leveraging his knowledge of key players in the industry. Prior to his 15-year career at Nutrien Ag Solutions (then Crop Production Services), Warner helped expand South American distribution and served as president of North American retail at Agrium. He has more than 45 years of experience in the U.S. agriculture retail industry.

“I’ve spent my entire career in ag retail distribution and look forward to leveraging that experience to help PlantResponse Biotech work with the retail network to get the best products placed on farmer fields,” he said

On the new location, Warner sees the expansion as key in developing global impact. “Research Triangle Park is the epicenter of ag research in the U.S. and really the world,” he said. “Having access to that talent, combined with our leadership team’s knowledge of the North American market, will help take PlantResponse Biotech to new levels.”