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Trace Genomics Raises $13m Series A Round to Unlock the Power of the Soil for Farmers

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Trace Genomics, a San Francisco Bay area startup developing revolutionary, AI-enabled diagnostic tools for farmers to increase yields and reduce costs, has closed a $13 million Series A round.

Trace Genomics has launched the first scalable soil microbiome test to enable the early prediction of soil diseases, soil health and crop quality.

Every tablespoon of soil contains billions of microorganisms. These organisms interact with the roots of plants, playing a key role in providing them with nutrients but also in causing plant disease, ultimately impacting food production and quality.

Trace Genomics uses high-throughput DNA sequencing, artificial intelligence, and a growing database of known and previously unknowable microbial species living in agricultural soils to identify and profile the soil microbiome, interpreting key soil health and disease risk indicators for every soil sample.

By understanding how soil microbes affect crop production, Trace Genomics has designed the first microbiome test to deliver actionable insights to growers. These insights include how to achieve more efficient nutrient use, how to reduce input costs, how to reduce crop disease risk, and which seeds, rotations or biological agents will work best for their soils.

Trace Genomics tests can also effectively gauge soil health, carbon sequestration, and sustainable agricultural production.

Leading East Coast investor Stage 1 Ventures led the round. Additional investors participating in the round include Viking Global Investors AgFunder, and others.

Trace Genomics has developed a highly scalable software and analytics platform to quantify soil productivity and offer actionable insights never before captured. It has the opportunity to transform how we measure sustainable and regenerative farm management practices, says Joseph Pianelli, Stage 1 Ventures Operating Partner. “The founding team has demonstrated a passion for microbiome science and a determination to deliver value to the market.”

Trace Genomics was founded by Dr. Diane Wu and Dr. Poornima Parameswaran, who met as graduate students in Nobel Laureate Andrew Fires lab at Stanford University. Their complementary backgrounds span computational biology, genomics, data science, immunology, microbiology and infectious diseases.

Weve spent our careers working on genomics technology, watching it transform human health in a very significant way. Were passionate about bringing that power to every farmer, using genomics and big data to help them make smarter decisions and materially change our approach to food production, says Diane Wu, PhD, Trace Genomics CEO and Co-founder.

People have been looking for ways to tackle global food security “ and its right there, under their feet, adds Poornima Parameswaran, PhD, Trace Genomics President and Co-founder. Measuring the soil biome is the critical first step in optimizing the natural functions present in our soils today, so we can be more precise and economical in choosing seed, nutrients and other inputs. Our ability to sustainably utilize our soils today will put us on track to meeting our growing food demands sustainably.

After just one year with commercially-available diagnostic tools, Trace Genomics is helping growers of over 70 high-value fruits and vegetables make crucial input and planting decisions, and have tested soil samples representing more than 150,000 acres.

Carl Casale, a Trace Genomics customer and former CEO of food and ingredients company CHS said: Precision agriculture lacks the ˜so what. With the Trace report, we were able to see very clearly what was causing loss of productivity on our fields and what we needed to do about it. We saved over $100/acre by avoiding a fungicide we didnt need and focusing on specific approaches to improve our soil health. We saw visible improvements to our yields the following season.

Next year, with its ability to process more than thousand soil samples a week across geographies and soil types, Trace Genomics will expand to corn and soybean, with the potential to impact over 170 million acres in the US alone. Trace Genomics can identify the likelihood of crop diseases such as soybean sudden death syndrome, and can guide growers to decisions that lead to greater nutrient efficiency. Both of these benefits can increase overall profit for the farmer, a growing priority in recent years with deflated food commodity prices.

Investors in Trace see unbounded potential for the company to apply its technology across the food system and help facilitate more sustainable farming practices. Traces technology could play a significant role in helping food companies meet their stated climate goals, providing a way to quantify these efforts for the first time. The soil microbiome also plays a significant role in providing nutrients to the plant through its roots, and that influences the nutrition content of the food we produce and eat, said Veery Maxwell, Director at Energy Innovation.

Its time we started paying attention to the dirt below our feet.

This fundraising round brings Trace Genomics total capital raised to more than $19 million. Previous investors include Fall Line Capital and Refactor Capital.

About Trace Genomics

Founded in 2015, Trace Genomics delivered the first microbiome test for the food supply, enabling early prediction of soil diseases, soil health and crop quality. Their expertise is in the interpretation of microbial communities to deliver actionable insights for sustainably meeting global food demand. Trace Genomics work with farmers, retailers, and manufacturers to optimize and prescribe solutions for each acre of soil. The company is based in Burlingame, California.

Trace Genomics
Emma Shaver
[email protected]

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Seoul to host “Seoul Global Challenge 2021” to seek for innovative solutions to improve air quality in Seoul subway; finally selected teams to receive a cash prize of 690 mil. won

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– The Challenge 2021 consists of the technology competition and the academic paper competition to find “Innovative Technology to Improve the Air Quality in the Seoul Subway”

– Any company, university, and research institute from around the world can submit their ideas

– Seoul will accept the application from Oct. 14 for the next three month at its website(http://seoulglobalchallenge.sba.kr/en/) and do screening and offer assignments for eleven months

– The awarding ceremony will take place in December 2021

SEOUL, South Korea, Oct. 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Seoul Metropolitan Government said it will host the "Seoul Global Challenge 2021," an international R&D competition that will take place over the next 11 months. The Challenge will invite global companies, universities, and research institutes to seek for innovative solutions to urban problems Seoul is currently facing.

Seoul Global Challenge 2021
Seoul Global Challenge 2021

The "Seoul Global Challenge 2020" was held from August 2019 to February 2020. The Challenge 2020 brought together 106 companies from the world, including the United States, France, Japan, Canada, Finland, United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. Ten finalists’ solutions were installed in the Seoul Subway to test their effectiveness in reducing fine dust levels.

This year, the subject of the Challenge 2021 is "Innovative Technology to Improve the Air Quality in the Seoul Subway." Through the technology competition and the academic paper competition, a total of 25 teams will be selected, and they will receive a cash prize of 690 million won (approximately US$ 600,000).

Any company, university, and research institute with interest may submit their ideas by the end of this coming December. Around ten teams qualified at a preliminary round will be granted a total of 800 million won (approximately US$ 695,000) for the prototype development for up to six months. The amount will be provided differently, depending on the technology. Additionally, expert mentoring services and the space for making trial products will be offered upon request.

The competition technologies are about the reduction of particles that occur from typical wear-in; the improvement of fine dust removal performance; the improvement of measurement technology; and integrated management of air quality in the subway station. Up to 200 million won (US$ 174,500) in prize money will be given to the finally selected team that will pass the performance evaluation.

Those interested in the academic paper competition can fill out the application form and submit it with the paper proposal by the end of November. Seoul will do a preliminary screening in December to select those who will go through the paper evaluation. Those who pass the preliminary screening may submit their paper by September 2021.

The three themes of the academic paper competition are the interrelationship between the outside atmosphere and the subway air quality; the reduction of indoor fine dust in the subway; and the reduction of viruses in the subway. Only papers that have never been published before can be accepted. Up to 10 million won (approximately US$ 8,700) will be given as a cash prize to the finalists.

Kim Eui-Seung, Deputy Mayor for Economic Policy, said, "I hope that the Seoul Global Challenge 2021 will serve as an opportunity to gather the capabilities of talents from around the world and leap forward in related innovative technologies and research levels."

More information about the Challenge — from how to participate in it to detailed evaluation methods — is available in Korean and in English on the website: http://seoulglobalchallenge.sba.kr/en/

SBA Seoul Global Challenge Media Team
+82-2-2222-3726
[email protected]
http://seoulglobalchallenge.sba.kr/en/

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Sihuan Pharmaceutical Invests in Phase I Fund of Ascendum Capital Life Technology to Expand its Strategy in Development of Innovative Drugs

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HONG KONG, Oct. 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — On 20 October 2020, Sihuan Pharmaceutical Holdings Group Ltd. (HKEX: 0460 "Sihuan Pharmaceutical" or the "Company", together with its subsidiaries, the "Group") announced that its participation in the investment of Phase I Fund of Ascendum Capital Life Technology. The Company looks forward to expand its resources in the development of innovative drugs and accelerate the introduction of overseas innovative drugs in China, strengthen the its resources and development of its international product pipeline and accelerate its product innovation and internationalization. Sihuan Pharmaceutical’s investment and participation in the fund provides valuable support for Ascendum Capital’s future development of medical devices and biopharmaceuticals. This cooperation allows both parties to share resources in a timely manner as it creates a win-win situation.

Sihuan Pharmaceutical was established in 2001. After nearly 20 years pursuing research and development, the company has grown into a large listed pharmaceutical enterprise with an integrated R&D, production and sales system. It is one of the largest suppliers of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular prescription drugs in China. Currently, Sihuan Pharmaceutical’s R&D product pipeline has a total of 80 therapeutics, including innovative drugs with small molecule targets (14 items), biologic drugs with huge market potential (13 items), and generic drugs with high technical barriers (53 items).

In the R&D pipeline, Sihuan Pharmaceutical’s drug portfolio targets major therapeutic areas, including oncology, metabolism, chronic diseases, neuropsychiatric, digestive diseases, anti-infectives, and cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. More than 10 drugs have entered phase III clinical trial or are in the approved production stage. Sihuan Pharmaceutical has a high-quality pre-clinical R&D team of nearly 200 people, including a number of senior scientists with extensive industry experience in internationally renowned pharmaceutical enterprises. The company also has a 200-person clinical development team, which includes more than 70 doctors, masters and overseas returnees. The company features strong research and development capabilities.

Currently, Sihuan Pharmaceutical has a global business development center in the United States that focuses on developing first-in-class oncology, diabetes therapeutics as well as other therapeutic areas with huge clinical needs. The Company also employs international experts to expand and manage business projects in China and abroad. These international experts support Sihuan Pharmaceutical’s global business and accelerate the introduction and deployment of international projects.

In early 2014, Sihuan Pharmaceuticals established a partnership with South Korea’s leading medical aesthetics manufacturer Hugel and codeveloped botulinum toxin and filler products, which will contribute to new business growth. The botulinum toxin product is expected to receive approval before the end of this year, making it the first and only South Korean botulinum toxin product to be approved in China, Sihuan will act as the sole agent for this product.

Sihuan Pharmaceutical has a professional marketing team with nearly 1,000 people, partnering with more than 3,000 distributors. The Company’s sales network covers 14,460 hospitals, nearly 7,500 are secondary and tertiary hospitals, and has 100% coverage rate in the provinces. The Sihuan Pharmaceutical’s sales staff are very professional with the majority of them holding a medical master’s degree or above. The strong sales system is a great benefit to the Company’s future expansion of new products and internationalization.

Sihuan Pharmaceutical has a clear long-term strategic development goal, which is aimed to be an innovation inspired, international pharmaceutical enterprise equipped with technology. The company focuses on the cerebrovascular, oncology diabetes, and aesthetic medicine segments.  It has an independent leading research and development technology platform, rich global product pipeline and mature and excellent sales system. The investment in Ascendum Capital Life Technology Investment Fund is part of the Company’s strategy to expand innovation in new opportunities and develop internationally.

Ascendum Capital Life Technology Investment Fund is a cutting-edge medical investment fund established in July 2020, mainly focusing on the medical and life technology industry. Ms. Shao Ying (former well-known healthcare analyst at Credit Suisse), founder and core managing partner of the Fund, has formed a professional team with extensive industry investment experience and excellent global operation capabilities.

As the Fund’s manager, Ascendum Capital has a network of experts and doctors around the world with strong connections with global pharmaceutical industry giants and potential buyers and can assist Sihuan Pharmaceutical to expand its discovery and introduction of high-quality products. The fund has many international limited partners that provide not only strong financial support, broad and rich source of high-quality international projects, but also unique industrial value-added services to assist invested companies to enhance their value, receive drug registration approval, to advance clinical trial processes and to improve their business operation capabilities.

Ascendum Capital believes that the fund will expand in the medical technology industry, specifically in medical devices and biopharmaceuticals. It intends to introduce foreign advanced technology and products in China to accelerate their research and development and commercialization. It also intends to promote the research and development of products with independent intellectual property rights in China, cultivate and integrate more industry-leading innovative medical device companies, strengthen the integration of the industry and capital, enhance the integrated competitiveness of innovative medical companies, and promote the development of China’s healthcare industry.

Ascendum Capital has strong knowledge of Sihuan Pharmaceutical’s business and development needs as well as a full understanding of the management and Sihuan Pharmaceutical’s founders’ requirements and expectations. With Sihuan Pharmaceutical’s participation, both parties can share project resources more effectively, and expand Sihuan Pharmaceutical’s investment team’s resources while creating a win-win cooperation for both parties.

Sihuan Pharmaceutical participated in the investment of Ascendum Capital. Ascendum Capital has excellent investment resources and flexible exit strategies, and is expected to provide Sihuan Pharmaceutical with excellent investment returns. Additionally, Sihuan Pharmaceutical can obtain first-hand funding and project support by cooperating with top fund managers.

Dr. Che Fengsheng, Chairman and Executive Director of Sihuan Pharmaceutical Holdings Group commented, "The investment in Ascendum Capital is in line with the Group’s goal of promoting and achieving the Company’s strategic transformation through investment. Sihuan Pharmaceutical consistently pursues product innovation, research and development as well as cultivation of high-quality manufacturing enterprises, supplemented with investment, mergers, incubation, holding and spin-offs, to generate a number of independently operated subsidiaries, and help them enter the capital market and enhance the parent company’s value-added."

With management’s unique strategic vision, Sihuan Pharmaceutical is able to pursue the strategy of "innovation-driven, imitation and creation co-exist". Sihuan Pharmaceutical’s subsidiaries are also cooperating together at all levels to promote the transformation of Sihuan Pharmaceutical from a traditional pharmaceutical company into a comprehensive pharmaceutical group, creating the new path to internationalization.

About Sihuan Pharmaceutical Holdings Group Ltd.

Founded in 2001, Sihuan Pharmaceutical Holdings Group Ltd. ("Sihuan Pharmaceutical" or the "Company"), together with its subsidiaries (the "Group") is a pharmaceutical group with integrated research and development ("R&D"), production and marketing and sales capabilities. It is one of the largest suppliers of cardio-cerebral vascular ("CCV") prescription drugs in China. Sihuan Pharmaceutical has an excellent and professional marketing model, a nationwide distribution network, a diversified product portfolio with great market potential, as well as strong R&D capability. The Group continues to increase investment in R&D every year. Because of the continuing efforts over the past decade, Sihuan Pharmaceutical has a R&D platform with over 1,000 researchers conducting more than 110 pharmaceutical research projects. More than 300 patents on innovative drugs have been granted and over 80 of them are overseas patent. The Group’s current pipeline projects cover key therapeutic areas including diabetes, oncology, anti-infectives and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, etc.

For more information about Sihuan Pharmaceutical, please visit the company website https://www.sihuanpharm.com/.

Related Links :

https://www.sihuanpharm.com/

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Finalist Teams Announced for 2020 Asia Super Team: Reach for the Stars

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Balance Gaming Network to compete for USD$50,000 prize package

TAIPEI, Oct. 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Asia Super Team is here again. 2020 is the seventh consecutive year the "Taiwanese government" has hosted the international competition together with "Taiwan External Trade Development Council", "TAITRA". This year, the theme is Reach for the Stars, with four-member corporate finalist teams — from Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines — who have qualified to participate in the November finals competition.

The eight teams are already preparing for the challenge to earn the Asia Super Team title. Due to COVID-19, this will be the first time the competition will be held completely online, so teams can experience Taiwan from the comfort and safety of their own environments. The champion team will win an incentive travel package to Taiwan for their company valued at US$50,000.

Be sure to follow the latest news and developments on the official MEET TAIWAN fan page. Plus enter a lucky draw for one roundtrip ticket to Taiwan by casting a vote. To support the Balance Gaming Network team from Thailand, log on to the official website during November 9-15 to cast a vote. Don’t miss out.

  • Event Duration: 18:00 November 9 to 23:59 November 15 (GMT +8)
  • Official Voting Website: asiasuperteam.meettaiwan.com
  • MEET TAIWAN Official Fan Page: www.facebook.com/meettaiwan

There were hundreds of applications for the Asia Super Team competition from businesspeople in Thailand. Congratulations to Balance Gaming Network for advancing to the second stage finals.

Asia Super Team Finalists:

  • JTB GMT (Japan): With 508 offices in 39 countries, they are a popular travel agency in Japan, promoting and facilitating overseas travelers.
  • NG Bio Co., Ltd. (Korea): A cosmetic manufacturer from Korea, providing popular products such as Pacomeri hand sanitizers throughout Asia.
  • Social Collider (Singapore): A leading co-work space rental company in Singapore, providing space, facilities, and other rental services to social enterprises in Singapore.
  • Balance Gaming Network (Thailand): A leading e-sports company in Thailand, building an e-sports network throughout America, Europe, Australia and South Eastern Asia.
  • St Nivel Tour Sdn Bhd (Malaysia): The leading travel agency in Malaysia, Perak, providing travel assistance to companies and individuals.
  • Teleperformance Philippines (the Philippines): The largest outsourced omnichannel customer experience management company in the Philippines, with more than 30,000 workstations in a variety of businesses.
  • Telkom Indonesia (Indonesia): The biggest telecom company in Indonesia, providing internet, digital communication services, and more.
  • Ngan hang TMCP Ban Viet (Vietnam): One of the leading banks in Vietnam, with 27 years of operation.

For more Asia Super Team information, please check asiasuperteam.meettaiwan.com

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