PLANeT Biotech, a spin-off from CRAG, is launched to fight the effects of the climate crisis in agriculture
The company PLANeT Biotech is a spin-off arising from the research carried out by Ana I. Caño-Delgado, CSIC researcher at CRAG, with a long and outstanding career in the field of plant biotechnology.
The recently created company will focus its activity on the development of products designed to mitigate the effects of the climate crisis in agriculture. The pioneering technology on which PLANeT Biotech is based is inspired by the natural resilience mechanisms that plants use to fight against adverse conditions of temperature and lack of water.
PLANeT Biotech was founded by researchers Ana I. Caño-Delgado and Andrea Giordano, the “la Caixa” Foundation and CRAG, and it is expected to obtain private capital funding in the coming months.
Molecules that confer resistance to drought
One of the technologies that PLANeT Biotech will use consists of a platform that allows the identification of new active molecules that can provide resistance to drought and high temperatures without affecting production or plant growth. This platform allows the screening of molecules from different sources, either natural products, biological molecules (small proteins, RNA molecules), synthetic compounds, as well as by-products resulting from industrial processes such as fermentation. The great flexibility of the platform also allows it to be adapted for specific crops, such as those with a high demand for water such as tomatoes or rainfed crops such as cereals.
As stated by Ana I. Caño-Delgado, founding partner of the company, «in the current climate emergencycontext, where 40-60% of harvests are lost every year, PLANeT Biotech opens a new door to sustainable and profitable solutions to deal with droughts and heat waves that affect crops».
Fundamental science with a return for society
PLANeT Biotech is the first spin-off to emerge from CRAG, «a center committed to the transfer of knowledge and technology, as we want our research to have a real impact on society», as explained by L. Maria Lois, Director of CRAG. In fact, the technology on which PLANeT Biotech is based is protected by a patent originated at CRAG, and the company will be incubated at the research center during this initial period, as it is an ideal environment to carry out cutting-edge research in plant genetics.
The creation of this spin-off is the result of twenty years of fundamental research carried out by Ana I. Caño-Delgado's group, which has received funding from several national and international projects, including the CaixaResearch Validate programme focused on promoting the transfer of public research to entrepreneurship, and the renowned grants from the European Research Council ERC Consolidator Grant and ERC Proof of Concept.
The fact that this fundamental research has led to the creation of PLANeT Biotech, underlines the importance of basic research in the generation of knowledge. Especially regarding a topic as key as agriculture and in the current climate crisis context, advances like this can have a major impact on society.
About PLANeT Biotech (https://www.planet-biotech.com)
PLANeT Biotech is a technology-based company (EBT), spin-off from CRAG founded by Ana I. Caño-Delgado with the participation of Andrea Giordano, the “la Caixa” Foundation and CRAG. The company develops tests to discover molecules of interest to make plants more resistant to adverse conditions such as drought or high temperatures. Part of the research on which PLANeT Biotech is based has received funding from the following projects and entities: European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 683163); “la Caixa” Foundation under the CaixaImpulse 2021 Grant (LCF/TR/CI21/52650015) - European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) - European Union’s Horizon 2021 research and innovation programme; Departament de Recerca i Universitats from Generalitat de Catalunya through the programme “AGAUR Producte” (2021 PROD 00133); incubation programme Cajamar Innova 3rd Edition; Idea Generation Programme from Parc de Recerca UAB (PRUAB); Grant PID2020-118218RB-I00 funded by MCIN/AEI/10.13039/501100011033 and Grant BIO2016-78150-P funded by MCIN/AEI/ 10.13039/501100011033 and by “ERDF A way of making Europe”, by the “European Union”.