DuPont said yesterday it agreed to acquire Taxon Biosciences, which specializes in commercializing microbiome-based products with agricultural, energy, or environmental applications. The price was not disclosed.

DuPont said its ability to develop seed treatment, foliar and soil application products for row crops, fruits and vegetables, will be enhanced through the acquisition of Taxon, with its intellectual property in microbial consortia and microbial genomics products.

The deal is also expected to further grow DuPont's agriculture, nutrition and health, and industrial biosciences segments, which last year sold more than $1 billion in biological solutions across four market sectors.

Across the corporate giant’s business segments, DuPont Biologicals develops crop-focused biological solutions that include microbes, plant extracts, and other natural substances used for controlling pests and improving plant health, quality, and yield.

In January, for example, DuPont launched in France its biological solution DuPont™ Acapela® Soft Control™. It combines a natural microorganism, Bacillus pumilus, with picoxystrobin, a synthetic high-performance fungicide, for foliar disease control in oilseed rape.

Based in Tiburon, CA, Taxon was founded in 2000 by microbial geneticists Matthew Ashby, Ph.D., now the company’s CSO; and Jasper Rine, Ph.D., with the goal of developing a transformational microbial genomics platform for agriculture, energy and health sciences.

Taxon’s bioinformatic platform is designed to enable identification of functional consortia, and resolve fine-scale differences across environments that shape community structure. The company’s tech tools facilitate both the empirical elucidation of microbial community structure, such as consortia, and the association of microbes or consortia with biological processes in which they participate.

“Our unique technology platform coupled with DuPont’s robust research capabilities and positioning across several markets makes the integration of Taxon into DuPont a natural fit and will support DuPont’s ability to bring new products to the market, faster,” Glenn Nedwin, Ph.D., Taxon’s CEO and president, said in a statement.

Added Frank DeGennaro, director of DuPont Biologicals: “The acquisition of Taxon will complement and enhance our in-house microbial discovery programs. With this added capability, we expect to accelerate our time from discovery to market and we are field testing biological discovery leads identified by Taxon this year.”

DuPont said the Taxon acquisition is expected to close later in the second quarter.

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