CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA — October 26, 2021 – AgroSpheres, a leader in developing the next generation of environmentally friendly crop protection products, announced the appointment of Dr. Robert Fraley to its board of directors. Dr. Fraley, who served for nearly 40 years as chief technology officer at Monsanto and is often recognized as the father of agriculture biotechnology, will help guide AgroSpheres as it develops and commercializes a new class of biopesticide products built on its pioneering AgriCell biorational and RNAi platforms. In addition to joining the board, Dr. Fraley is personally investing in the company.
“Innovators of this caliber are rare,” said AgroSpheres’ CEO Payam Pourtaheri. “We are honored to welcome Dr. Fraley to our board and add him to the growing ranks of our investors. His addition and personal financial commitment demonstrate confidence in our team, business model and technology.”
“Dr. Fraley’s global footprint and vision bring strategic insight to our technology development and broad deployment,” said AgroSpheres’ CTO Ameer Shakeel. “His deep expertise is perfectly suited to guide our next generation of agriculture biotechnology.”
In addition to helping develop the first genetically modified seed, Dr. Fraley led a team of agriculture scientists at Monsanto in engineering seeds and solutions that help farmers produce a more abundant, affordable and sustainable food supply. His research teams have contributed extensively to plant breeding, biotechnology, ag biologicals, ag microbials, precision agriculture and crop protection innovations.
“I’m very impressed by AgroSpheres’ technology and the field performance of their RNAi platform,” said Dr. Fraley. “Their team demonstrates a strong commitment to high-performing and sustainable solutions for growers. I believe the future of agriculture will be dramatically shaped by these remarkable advances.”
Dr. Fraley has authored more than 100 publications and patent applications relating to technical advances in agricultural science. He holds a Bachelor of Science and Ph.D. in microbiology/biochemistry from the University of Illinois, an executive degree in business management from Northwestern University and was a biophysics postdoctoral fellow at the University of California San Francisco. Dr. Fraley’s notable awards include:
- The prestigious 2013 World Food Prize for breakthrough achievements in agriculture.
- The 1999 National Medal of Technology, presented by President Clinton.
Dr. Fraley resides with his wife, Laura, in St. Louis. He continues to passionately advocate for the use of technology to address global food insecurity and reduce the environmental footprint of agriculture.
AgroSpheres envisions a future built by nature’s technologies. Located in Charlottesville, VA, the company’s mission is to transform agriculture through reliable and affordable biobased solutions. AgroSpheres’ patented AgriCell and AgriShell technologies enable the development of biological pesticides that are cost-effective, shelf-stable, and consistent in the field. Its RNA interference (RNAi) bioprocess works by silencing vital genes of a target pest/pathogen, preventing off-target damage to non-harmful insects like bees, helping to promote biodiversity. For more information, visit www.agrospheres.com.
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