Large Global Company Buys Area Firm

Global giant Syngenta, based in Switzerland, announced Wednesday (Sept. 19) that it has agreed to acquire Pasteuria Bioscience, based in the University of Florida’s Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator in Alachau.

Since last year, Syngenta and Pasteuria have been partners in developing and commercializing biological products to control plant-parasitic nematodes, using a naturally occurring soil bacteria.

Pasteuria uses a revolutionary process based upon UF discoveries to produce nematode killing products.

The first Pasteuria-based product was commercialized in 2010 to control nematodes on the golf courses and sports turfs. Syngenta plans to launch a seed treatment for a nematode that damages soybeans in 2014.

Syngenta will acquire Pasteuria for $86 million, with additional deferred payments of up to $27 million.

Nematodes are a major pest for all crops, but older products to kill them have been taken off the market for environmental reasons, limiting options for growers to kill them.

Syngenta will use Pasteuria’s products to complement its existing chemicals that kill nematodes in a broad variety of crops, including soybeans, corn, cereals, sugar beets and vegetables.

Syngenta employs more than 26,000 people in more than 90 countries.

“Pasteuria Bioscience is excited to become part of the Syngenta team,” says Pasteuria Executive Chairman and President Al Kern. “Syngenta recognizes the potential with the Pasteuria platform and can commercialize it in a broad range of products for the global marketplace.”

“This is huge for our program,” says Patti Breedlove, manager of the Sid Martin Incubator. “It’s a revolutionary technology and while the Pasteuria’s acquisition by Syngenta is similar in size to BP BioFuels acquisition of one of our earlier companies for $98.3 million, that company had headquarters in Boston. Pasteuria’s entire company has been with us since it began in 2003 with three employees.”


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