Saint Louis, MO (PRWEB) February 9, 2010
Divergence, Inc. announced today that the company has recently received two Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants totaling $500,000, along with renewed funding from the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), to support advancement of the company’s innovative work to prevent crop damage from nematodes. Parasitic nematode worms are the largest unsolved pest problem in agriculture, limiting the yield of crops worldwide and causing tens of billions of dollars in crop damage annually.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) both awarded grants to the company, while the NCGA announced continuation of its funding to support work on nematode control in corn. The USDA issued a Phase II grant of $350,000 for development of crops with resistance to root knot nematodes. The NSF provided a Phase I grant of $150,000 for the development of novel, safe and effective nematicidal chemicals for crops, turf and ornamental plants discovered through Divergence’s powerful research platform, Harvest®.
“This combination of funding is a validation of the substantial progress Divergence has made in demonstrating the performance of our technologies in protecting crops from parasitic nematode damage,” said James P. McCarter, M.D., Ph.D., President and Chief Scientific Officer of Divergence. “We are excited at the possibilities for meeting growers’ and greens superintendants’ needs with an array of products, whether used alone or in an integrated fashion. Our portfolio of complementary biotechnology traits and agrochemicals with superior human and environmental safety offer outstanding potential to meet market needs for higher yielding and sustainable agriculture.”
The grant from the NSF is the third that Divergence has received based on Harvest®. “Harvest® is a revolutionary proprietary platform technology with broad utility in the development of agrochemicals and is the source of Divergence’s lead nematicide,” said McCarter. “The platform allows for more rapid and cost effective discovery of novel fungicides, insecticides and herbicides, as well as nematicides. Divergence is applying the platform to internal and collaboration projects in multiple product categories. We are confident of our continued discovery of leads that work through highly effective modes of action not currently used in commercial products. This progress is important as concerns of safety and resistance in a variety of markets increase.”
Divergence is also pleased to continue its productive relationship with NCGA. The collaboration, now in its eighth year, has successfully discovered technology with the potential to protect corn from the yield-reducing effects of parasitic nematode infection. “It is gratifying that NCGA believes in the great importance and high quality of the research being conducted at Divergence,” said McCarter. “The advancement of our work in the last year makes us increasingly confident that growers will have one or more safe and effective approaches to significantly reduce the damage to corn done by parasitic nematodes. These developments should lead to products for other major crop markets, as well.”
Divergence, Inc., a world leader in the application of genomics and informatics to agriculture and infectious disease, discovers and develops products for the safe and effective control of parasites. The company's initial focus is on parasitic nematodes, devastating unseen pests that cause billions of dollars in crop loss annually and widespread disease in humans and animals. The company’s innovative research platforms have broad potential for the discovery of superior products for sustainable food production and improved human and animal health. For more information visit Divergence's Web site at http://www.divergence.com.