RTP-based agricultural technology incubator makes 2nd investment

The greenhouse at Alexandria Center for Science, Technology and Agriculture in Research Triangle Park, which is where AgTech Accelerator is located.
The greenhouse at Alexandria Center for Science, Technology and Agriculture in Research Triangle Park, which is where AgTech Accelerator is located. Courtesy of AgTech Accelerator

AgTech Accelerator, a startup incubator focused on agricultural technology companies, announced its second investment on Thursday — putting $5 million into the animal health company Skyline Vet Pharma.

This is the second investment by the incubator in as many months. Last month, the Research Triangle Park-based AgTech Accelerator made its first investment since it was founded in 2016, completing a $10 million financing round in the fungicides maker Boragen Inc.

That investment made Boragen one of only two Triangle-based companies to raise $10 million or more in venture capital in the first quarter of this year.

The accelerator is part of Alexandria Real Estate Equities’ broader plan for the Alexandria Center for Science, Technology and Agriculture — a development that will eventually encompass one million square feet of space on Davis Drive in the park.

The AgTech Accelerator has a unique model in which it identifies, finances and manages the promising agriculture startup companies it brings to its facility.

Skyline and Boragen will likely be joined by several more fledgling companies at the startup hub in the coming months. The incubator’s CEO John W. Dombrosky said it would likely make three to four investments per year.

Skyline, which was founded in 2015, reformulates human drugs for use in animals, particularly cats and dogs.The company believes the demand for pharamceutical products for companion animals is likely to increase in the coming years, with already more than 150 million dogs and cats in the U.S. alone.

The company intends to bring several new products to the market over the next few years in three major areas: pain, cardiovascular disease and antimicrobials — areas that make up more than 60 percent of the drug prescriptions for animals.

The investors participating in Skyline’s financing were part of the AgTech Accelerator’s syndicate of investors, which includes Alexandria Venture Investments, Bayer, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Hatteras Venture Partners, Pappas Capital and Syngenta Ventures, among others.

“Following the May 2016 launch of AgTech Accelerator, we have been searching for the best opportunities in the companion animal health space,” Dombrosky, who will also sit on the company’s new board of directors, said in a statement.

“We are delighted to now bring AgTech Accelerator’s deep expertise and unique company-building resources to Skyline Vet Pharma, an early-stage company poised to transform the way we meet our pets’ underserved health care needs. This investment illustrates the kind of breadth, variety and scope built into AgTech Accelerator’s company development approach.”

Skyline is led by its co-founders CEO Serge Martinod and Vice President George Murphy, who both have many years of experience in the animal health sapce, working both for established companies such as Pfizer and for several startups.

Prior to Skyline, Martinod and Murphy started Jaguar Animal Health, a publicly traded company that makes gastrointestinal products for animals.

Zachery Eanes: 919-419-6684, @zeanes