On Wednesday, agricultural conglomerate Monsanto (NYSE:MON) announced it has acquired "select" assets of privately-held "sustainable agricultural solutions" company Agradis, for an undisclosed sum. Monsanto bought the Agradis name, its R&D site in La Jolla, Calif., and also its collection of microbes used to improve crop productivity.

Agradis was formed in 2011 by Mexican investment firm Plenus, S.A. de C.V., in partnership with Synthetic Genomics Inc, a privately-held company led by J. Craig Venter -- probably best known as the founder of human genome researcher Celera Genomics (now owned by Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX)). Unsurprisingly for a firm in which Venter was involved, Agradis's stated aim was to research "genomic-driven solutions" to improve agriculture.

Post-acquisition, what remains of Agradis -- certain sweet sorghum breeding and genetic optimization technologies, as well as "a novel product used to prevent fungal growth on fruits and vegetables" -- will be moved into a new venture owned by Synthetic Genomics and Plenus, to be known as AgraCast.

Financial details regarding the transaction were not disclosed. Shares of Monsanto declined 0.2% in Wednesday trading, closing at $102.73.


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