Accelerating development of water stress management solutions for crops

ECBP Elicit 9 FebAgri-biotech company Elicit Plant has closed its financing round to boost the development of its water stress management solution in agriculture, with support from the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF)

Drought has always posed a serious threat to farmers around the globe. With climate change and the rise in extreme weather events, this threat is only increasing. Elicit Plant provides farmers with a natural and efficient solution against hydric stress. The US$18.28mn funding round will be used to accelerate the development and commercialisation of its first two BEST-a products.

Established in 2020, the ECBF supports companies developing innovative technologies, circular business models and sustainable, bio-based products.

The financing includes an equity component led by Sofinnova Partners. It is supported by the ECBF, BPI France, and historical investors Aquity-NACO as well as Crédit-Agricole CPE. It also comprises a portion provided by a pool of banks and support programmes from the New Aquitaine region and BPI France.

Jean-François Déchant, president and co-founder of Elicit Plant, said, “The very significant support we have received from internationally renowned investors such as Sofinnova Partners and ECBF, is testimony to the quality of our technology and the enormous potential of our solution. We are now in an ideal position to accelerate our development and offer a unique solution to farmers that will enable them to respond effectively to the challenges of climate change as well as become a global champion for environmental change in agriculture within the next five years."

Elicit Plant has developed a proprietary technology based on phytosterols, substances naturally found in plants, to offer a solution to the water-stress-resistance for field crops. Its products address part of an estimated US$4bn global market for bio-stimulants. 

The technology developed in its laboratory in Charente, France, and at its site in São Paulo, Brazil, naturally stimulates plants' metabolism, reducing their water requirements. By doing so, it increases their resistance to water stresses such as drought. Field trials have shown yield increases of up to 20%. Independent French and international research institutes, traders and cooperatives have validated this impact. Since market approval in May 2021 Elicit Plant is marketing its first two BEST-a products for water stress control in corn and soy crops internationally. 

Stéphane Roussel, partner of ECBF, added. "By improving crop resistance to drought, Elicit Plant is addressing a critical pain point and a source of massive economic losses for farmers and their communities. Elicit Plant’s technology unlocks the potential of an entire class of naturally occurring molecules never used in agriculture before. In addition to their solid scientific background and in-depth knowledge of the agricultural world, we were also impressed by the team's speed and quality of execution."

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