Nimbus Discovery LLC, a Cambridge biotechnology company focusing on previously inaccessible disease targets, will collaborate with Monsanto Co. to develop broad-spectrum fungicides that seek to help farmers control diseases and promote overall plant health, the two companies said in a Thursday press release.
Headquartered in St. Louis, Monsanto sells seeds, traits developed through biotechnology, and crop-protection chemicals. According to its website, Monsanto is committed to sustainable agriculture.
Financial terms of the collaboration are not being disclosed.
This is the second recent collaboration for Nimbus, whose investors include Atlas Venture, SR One, Lilly Ventures and Bill Gates of Microsoft fame. Last month, it was announced that Nimbus has forged a co-development agreement with Shire plc, a drug company with a major presence in Lexington; Nimbus and Shire are looking at small molecule treatments for several rare genetic diseases.
According to Nimbus, it seeks to harness computational technologies to uncover breakthroughs in small molecule pharmacology.
As for the Nimbus-Monsanto collaboration, it is expected to focus on fungal infections such as rusts, leaf spots, and blights that are estimated to result in significant global crop losses each year.
Under the terms of the agreement, a jointly-owned entity will be created that has access to Nimbus’ validated computational platform. Nimbus, with its innovative research tools together with Monsanto’s agricultural testing capabilities will co-develop agricultural fungicides, the companies said.
“Working with Monsanto gives Nimbus a unique opportunity to showcase its integrated computational chemistry and drug discovery strengths in the global agricultural marketplace,” Rosana Kapeller, M.D., chief scientific officer of Nimbus, said in a statement. “This partnership demonstrates the broad applicability of the Nimbus platform and the ability of the Nimbus team to extract the greatest value from our scientific assets.”