Agile Sciences Receives NSF Grant to Advance Crop Protection Technology

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The National Science Foundation awards a $150,000 Phase I SBIR Grant to Agile Sciences

Agile Sciences has been awarded $150,000 for a NSF Phase I SBIR project entitled “Enhancing the Bactericidal Activity of Copper: An Economically Viable Solution for Lowering Copper Usage Rates in Agriculture.” Agile Sciences will collaborate with North Carolina State University Professor of Plant Pathology, Dr. David Ritchie, to evaluate Agile Sciences’ Agilyte® technology for plant disease control.

Currently, millions of pounds of copper are sprayed onto plants each year in an effort to control the spread of plant pathogens. This copper is released into the environment, resulting in contamination of soil and waterways and deleterious effects on the ecosystem. Furthermore, pathogens are becoming resistant to copper pesticides, necessitating even higher rates of copper usage. Agile Sciences’ proprietary compounds are able to remove bacteria and fungi from their protective biofilm state so that the microbes are significantly more susceptible to copper treatments. When the Agilyte® technology is included in the treatment regimen, lower rates of copper products can be used, thus reducing the environmental impact of the copper.

Dr. Ritchie stated, “The Agile Sciences’ compounds may potentially alleviate the need to use high rates of copper. Futhermore, these compounds may act as ‘resistance breakers’ by enhancing copper’s effectiveness against copper-resistant strains. I look forward to working with the Agile Sciences’ team to conduct a more comprehensive study on the activities of these interesting compounds.”

Agile Sciences’ co-founder, Dr. Christian Melander, commented, “My academic collaboration with Dr. Ritchie began in 2008, and since that time we have made substantial strides in developing a new class of molecules to disperse bacteria from their protective biofilm state and enhance the activity of microbicides. This SBIR funding will help accelerate the development of these compounds as a commercial product for managing plant diseases.”

About Agile Sciences:
Agile Sciences is headquartered on North Carolina State University's Centennial Campus. The company was founded in 2007 to addresses environmental and health issues caused by microbes, including biofilms and biocide resistance. The Company’s Agilyte® small molecules enhance the performance of microbicides and antibiotics toward fungal and bacterial pathogens. For additional information, please visit:

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Keith Stoneback
CEO, Agile Sciences
(919) 457-3308
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