Market Overview

Pairwise Raises $25M Series A Financing to Accelerate Crop Innovation


Experts in Gene Editing and Agriculture Create Pairwise Plants to
Address Global Food Challenges

Pairwise Plants (Pairwise) today announced it has closed a $25M Series A
financing co-led by Deerfield Management and Monsanto Growth Ventures
(MGV), the venture capital arm of Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON).

Pairwise is an agricultural company focused on using gene editing and
leveraging natural diversity in agricultural crops in new ways to
address global food challenges. The company will be led by Dr. Tom
Adams, chief executive officer (CEO), and Dr. Haven Baker, chief
business officer, with founders Drs. Feng Zhang, David Liu and J. Keith
Joung, each a preeminent expert and inventor of gene-editing

Together this team brings unparalleled expertise to Pairwise. "My
co-founders and I believe the technologies we have each been developing
can have a profound impact in plant agriculture and will speed
innovation that is badly needed to feed a growing population amid
challenging conditions created by a changing climate," said Pairwise
founder J. Keith Joung.

Pairwise has licensed programmable base editing technology from Harvard
University and will be developing new gene-editing applications that
Pairwise intends to make available to a wide array of food and
agriculture companies spanning row and specialty crops, fruits and

"Our world needs healthier, more affordable, more convenient and more
sustainable food," said Dr. Tom Adams, incoming Pairwise CEO. "Our goal
is to solve agriculture problems across a wide range of food systems
that are also acknowledged social problems – including food waste, food
security and nutrition, and to enable other companies worldwide to
benefit from gene editing through technology licensing and

The industry-leading work of the Pairwise founders, and the unique
ability of these experts to work together toward the goal of advancing
innovation in agriculture, appealed to investors.

"Deerfield has experience in gene-editing technology for human health
and we see Pairwise as an opportunity to engage leading scientists in
gene editing to create a truly unique company that will benefit
agriculture and society," said Cam Wheeler, Principal at Deerfield

MGV is one of the most active investors in agriculture. "Part of
Monsanto's commitment to modern agriculture is recognizing and
accelerating innovation by investing in best-in-class startup
companies," said Kiersten Stead, investment director for MGV. "We are
excited to establish a new independent company that will create
innovative new products to benefit consumers, farmers and the
environment – both in grains and underbred crops."

About the Pairwise Founders

  • David Liu is a Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard
    University, faculty member at the Broad Institute, and a Howard Hughes
    Medical Institute Investigator. At Harvard, Liu pioneered base
    editing, a new form of gene editing, and evolved genome editing agents
    with improved properties compared to their natural forms.
  • J. Keith Joung is the Desmond and Ann Heathwood Research Scholar and a
    pathologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Professor of
    Pathology at Harvard Medical School. Over the past decade, his lab has
    invented and optimized important innovations in gene-editing
  • Feng Zhang is a core institute member of the Broad Institute of MIT
    and Harvard, an investigator at the McGovern Institute for Brain
    Research at MIT, as well as the James and Patricia Poitras Professor
    in Neuroscience at MIT, in the departments of Brain and Cognitive
    Sciences. Zhang developed the CRISPR-Cas9 system for gene editing in
    eukaryotic cells and continues to identify and adapt gene-editing
    tools including CRISPR-Cas12s (Cpf1) and CRISPR-Cas13s.
  • Tom Adams, former vice president of biotechnology at Monsanto, will be
    joining the company on April 1 as CEO. Adams brings more than 30 years
    of genomics and biotechnology research experience, including 20 years
    at Monsanto where he most recently led the company's Biotechnology
  • Haven Baker will assume the role of Chief Business Officer. Baker,
    formerly senior vice president and general manager of Simplot Plant
    Sciences, was responsible for launching the Innate Potato.

About Pairwise

Driven by the belief that food should be healthy, affordable, convenient
and sustainable, Pairwise brings together leaders in agriculture and
technology to harness the transformative potential of genome editing to
address our food system's needs. We are working to develop new varieties
of crops, and to partner with food and agriculture companies who seek to
put nutritious food on tables across the globe. From developing novel
genome editing tools to leveraging the natural genetic diversity of
plants and creating robust partnerships and collaborations, we are
working to address the biggest challenges facing the future of food.
Join us. For more information, please visit

About Deerfield Management

Deerfield is a healthcare investment firm committed to advancing
healthcare through investment, information and philanthropy. For more
information, please visit

About Monsanto Growth Ventures

Monsanto Growth Ventures, the venture capital arm of Monsanto Company,
is growth-stage agnostic and will invest in companies from Seed stage,
through Series A and beyond. Its robust program for partnering with
early-stage companies leads to stronger partnerships, collaborations
that accelerate development and, sometimes, according to strategic
goals, mergers and acquisitions. As one of more than a dozen companies
in the MGV portfolio, the investment in Pairwise complements Monsanto's
approach to integrating plant breeding, plant biotechnology, crop
protection, ag biologicals and data science platforms to give growers
better tools and technologies for producing better harvests, protecting
crops and conserving resources in the face of mounting environmental
challenges such as climate change and water scarcity. For more
information on Monsanto Growth Ventures, visit

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