CARSON CITY, Nev. –The Desert Research Institute (DRI) spun out its first research-based company focused on solutions in agriculture. The effort comes with support from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development’s (GOED) Knowledge Fund.
Tu Biomics Inc., inspired by DRI’s expertise in microbial ecology, is an agricultural biotechnology company that targets the soil health issues associated with industrial-scale farming.
With DRI, Tu Biomics is developing a platform of organically derived biocontrol agents (BCAs) as a sustainable, effective alternative to currently available synthetic chemistry options.
GOED funded a $350,000 Knowledge Fund research project at DRI, and Tu Biomics received nearly $1 million in seed financing from venture investors and industry partners.
“Identifying and developing the technology further towards market readiness as well as the actual Tu Biomics business formation is an excellent example of how GOED’s Knowledge Fund works,” said Michael Brown, GOED’s executive director.
In collaboration with the largest garlic grower and shipper in the U.S., the Tu Biomics research team has demonstrated the ability of its BCAs to suppress eight (8) economically significant soil-borne diseases affecting hundreds of agricultural and ornamental plants globally. The team is focused on pathogens that impact garlic, leafy greens and strawberries.
“Tu Biomics is another example of the growth of the entrepreneurial and investor community in northern Nevada,” said Brian Speicher, former business development lead at DRI, and CEO of Tu Biomics. “There is a deep reservoir of basic and applied science at DRI, and I believe this is just the first spin-out of many addressing challenges in a number of industries.”