Pluton Biosciences, a biotechnology company, has raised $16.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Illumina Ventures and RA Capital. The company aims to discover and deploy microbes that can fight climate change.
Pluton Biosciences uses its proprietary Microbial Discovery Platform to identify and isolate microbes that can be used to address environmental challenges. The company’s platform uses a combination of genomics, machine learning, and high-throughput screening to identify microbes that can be used to address specific environmental challenges.
“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.”
Microbial Cover Crop is a “product that sequesters carbon and nitrogen from the atmosphere and deposits it into the soil.”
Pluton Biosciences’ approach is unique in that it focuses on identifying and deploying microbes that are already present in the environment. This approach is more sustainable than introducing new organisms into the environment, which can have unintended consequences.
The funding round will allow Pluton Biosciences to expand its team and accelerate the development of its technology. The company plans to use the funding to hire additional scientists and engineers, as well as to invest in new laboratory equipment and facilities. Pluton Biosciences’ work is important because climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing the world today.
“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.”