Omnivore Farm Logs | Why we invested in BioPrime

Co-Founders (L-R): Dr Renuka Diwan, Dr Shekhar Bhosale, and Dr Amit Shinde

While investor interest in Indian agritech accelerated over the past few years, VCs have focused exclusively on digital technologies, neglecting innovations in agrifood life sciences that could help transform the lives of farmers and rural communities.

Biological solutions are one of the largest untapped opportunities in agrifood life sciences, and an essential tool for sustainable agriculture. Biologicals are crop protection or crop nutrition products derived from living organisms. They can substitute or complement the agrochemical products that currently dominate crop input sales globally. Biologicals can improve crop yields, grow residue-free premium harvests, and boost farm profitability.

What is BioPrime doing differently?

Founded in 2016 and incubated by BIRAC, BioPrime is developing biological inputs that enhance crop yields without harming the environment or the health of farmers and consumers. BioPrime spent the past few years building SNIPR and BIONEXUS. SNIPR (Smart Nanomolecules Induced Physiological Response) is a discovery platform that identifies innate immunity or natural defence mechanisms in plants, curates unique traits, and delivers tailored crop input formulations. BIONEXUS is India’s largest trait modifying, plant-associated microbe collection. Changes in the diversity of microbiota can confer plants acquired traits like drought tolerance, disease resistance, and enhanced yields, to name a few.

How well is BioPrime’s approach working?

For Indian companies to contribute to new active ingredients (chemical or biological) for crop protection or crop nutrition, they need to develop efficient multidisciplinary screening platforms that only a scant number of companies are doing because of the high risk of failure and heavy R&D investment required. As a result, most active ingredients used in Indian crop inputs have been developed abroad by MNCs.

BioPrime models its approach on biologicals on the way the pharmaceutical industry drives drug discovery and development. Bioprime integrates omics, bioinformatics, and computer image analysis to build efficient screening platforms (SNIPR and Bionexus), reducing the cost and time of discovery, and thereby significantly lowering the risks.

What about BioPrime was compelling for Omnivore?

Currently, Indian farmers depend heavily upon chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Such inputs are expensive, cause environmental pollution, and create natural resistance that force farmers to resort to even more toxic approaches. BioPrime’s effective and affordable agri biologicals, with time-proven biomolecules and life-friendly chemistry, are focused on transforming Indian agriculture to better withstand the challenges of climate change while raising crop yields sustainably.

The first generation of BioPrime’s products are at an early commercialization stage, and the company is evaluating several pan-India distribution partnerships. One of Bioprime’s products has also been selected by an MNC for multi-location validation trials. After positive field validation, the MNC is preparing to launch this product pan-India. Bioprime has a robust product pipeline with leads at various stages of development for photosynthesis modulation, post-harvest shelf life extension, and disease management (biofungicide).

We are thrilled to welcome BioPrime to our portfolio. It marks our first investment under the OmniX Bio initiative designed to back early-stage agrifood life science startups. The programme will support Indian entrepreneurs working in agricultural biotechnology, novel farming systems, bioenergy and biomaterials, and innovative foods, including alternative protein.

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Omnivore is a venture capital firm, based in India, which funds entrepreneurs building the future of agriculture and food systems.

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Omnivore

Omnivore

Omnivore is a venture capital firm, based in India, which funds entrepreneurs building the future of agriculture and food systems.

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