Pheronym lands $1 million National Science Foundation SBIR Phase II grant

This second NSF Grant will fund the final steps to scaling the commercialization of the company's patented nematode pheromone extract for crop biocontrol

After years of proving the efficacy of our patented approach, we are ready to take the final step in scaling production to make our solution commercially available”
— Dr. Fatma Kaplan, CEO of Pheronym
WOODLAND, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, July 11, 2023/ -- Pheronym, an ag-biotech pest management company, has been awarded a second non-dilutive National Science Foundation (NSF) SBIR Phase II for $1 Million. The grant will fund the final steps to scaling commercial manufacturing of their sustainable, eco-, and climate-friendly approach to pest control. The target pests include Thrips, a globally important pest that developed resistance to chemical pesticides. Other target pests include orchard pests like thrips, pecan weevil, citrus weevil, peachtree borer, appletree borer, and turfgrass pests like leatherjackets and white grubs. To date, Pheronym has been awarded $1.1 M in non-dilutive grants for their breakthrough work in enhancing crop biocontrol with nematode pheromones.

"After years of proving the efficacy of our patented approach, we are ready to take the final step in scaling production to make our solution commercially available,” said Dr. Fatma Kaplan, CEO of Pheronym. "Our natural approach to pest control will be better for people and our planet – it's time to get it out in the field so it can make a real difference for farmers and consumers alike."

"This is a strong solution to a real challenge – insect damage to crops that can be controlled through beneficial nematodes exceeds $14 Billion every year," said Dr. David Shapiro-Ilan at the United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS). "Our mission is to deliver scientific solutions to national and global agricultural challenges, and we look forward to working with Pheronym to research and develop strategies in biological control."

This new grant caps off a strong 12 months of accomplishments for Pheronym, which include:
-Demonstrated the proof of concept for a scalable method using fermentation for nematode pheromones for commercial manufacturing.
-Successful field trials in pecan orchards for efficacy
-Demonstrated the positive effects of pheromones and beneficial nematodes in soil microbiome in orchards
-Secured facilities to transition and scale pheromone production in bioreactors
-Successful lab testing of Nemastim with a large agrichemical company moved to phase 2 field testing
-Funding $200,000 as SAFE from Shared Future Fund and Gigascale Capital

How it Works
Pheronym's natural product breakthrough increases the effectiveness of beneficial nematodes' ability to control pests in agriculture. While nematodes are regularly used in pest management, commercially available nematodes do not disperse efficiently or as effectively as they can when they are applied to a field. This is because the insect target is mobile, so nematodes, which become dormant quickly, need to be actively moving to seek an insect pest host. Pheronym's approach directly impacts this problem – significantly improving the mobility and aggressiveness of the nematodes making them more effective in killing pests. Pheronym also has shown that a different kind of pheromone can control plant-parasitic nematodes, which harm crops, by redirecting these yield-sapping pests away from the plant roots.

About Pheronym
Award-winning Pheronym is an ag-biotech pest management company that enables sustainable farming through its novel platform of nematode pheromones. The company's patented solution uses a new pheromone to control plant-parasitic nematodes (microscopic roundworms) in an eco-friendly way and enhances beneficial nematodes' efficacy to eliminate pest insects. Learn more at

Karl Cameron Schiller
Pheronym, Inc.
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