Showcase Company: Innatrix

SBIR/STTR and Innovation Commercialization

Innatrix team photo

We recently sat down with the team at RTP-based Innatrix to learn more about their exciting journey toward commercialization of an innovative crop protection solution. Innatrix, Inc., Founded in 2013, the company is a fast-moving biopesticide firm that is focused on providing growers with eco-friendly, alternative means of crop protection utilizing our patented peptide & RNAi delivery technology platform. To date, the company has secured over $3M capital and non-dilutive funds, two U.S. patents and three pending patent applications. The core team at Innatrix includes 8 dedicated scientists and agtech industry leader, and has over 150 years of combined experience in agricultural product development and commercialization.

Innovative Products

Innatrix is laser focused upon bringing its first biological product, InnaLBTM, to the market. InnaLB will provide growers with effective means of control over late blight disease on potatoes and tomatoes, and downy mildew on cucurbits and grape. This application has a substantial Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM) valued at $457 million and is projected to grow at a rate of 15% annually. In addition, Innatrix is developing other biological products to address two critical and underserved crop pathogens: citrus greening, with a SOM of $202 million; and soybean cyst nematode, arguably the most important soybean pest, with a SOM of $450 million.

Product / Market Fit

Chemical pesticides are currently used to prevent pest and disease outbreaks. However, developing a chemical product can take over 12 years and cost more than $300 million. These chemicals must be rotated due to the pest or pathogen developing resistance to these chemicals, and even then, they will only provide partial control. Moreover, they have usage restrictions due to associated health concerns.

Unlike chemical crop protection, Innatrix’s innovative approach offers biological solutions that are durable and eco-friendly. Additionally, developing one of these products is expected to take up to 4 years with costs in the range of $3-4 million, significantly more favorable than conventional chemicals.

SBIR/STTR Award History

We received NSF SBIR phase I and NSF SBIR phase II grants. With NSF SBIR phase I, we established our peptide technology to identify efficacious peptides to control crop pathogens. With ongoing NSF SBIR phase II grant, we are developing our peptide product to address critical pathogen issues, such as product formulation and manufacturing, field trials, regulatory process, etc.

Top two tips/take-aways that you learned from the SBIR process

  1. NSF SBIR program is a very great program to support innovative science based startups: more than 90% awarded projects came from first time applications;
  2. Recommend Dr. Nick Trotta to help write the proposal.

SBTDC Services

Innatrix has benefited a great deal from the SBTDC counseling services for proposal draft and submission reviews. Also the SBTDC’s Summer Internship program tremendously helped Innatrix customer discovery process and business development.

What’s Next

Based on the successful completion of SBIR program, we are raising more capital funds, to speed up our product development, and strengthen our IP portfolio and platform building.

Innatrix logo

Contact information

Jiarui Li (Jiarui.li@innatrix.com)

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