GreenLight Bio Awarded USDA NIFA SBIR Grant for Innovative Soybean Protection Project 

BOSTON, MA, June 20, 2024 – GreenLight Biosciences (GreenLight Bio), the leader in advancing RNA solutions for agriculture, proudly announces its selection for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (USDA NIFA) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 program.  

The grant will further GreenLight Bio’s groundbreaking work in developing an RNAi-based biological seed treatment to protect soybeans from Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS). SDS is caused by the soilborne fungus Fusarium virguliforme and is one of the leading threats to soybean yields in the U.S., with potential losses of 50-80% in regions across North America.  

“We are honored to receive this grant from NIFA, which will enable us to bring our innovative approach to combating SDS to the next level,” said Andrey Zarur, CEO of GreenLight Bio. “The ultimate goal of this novel solution is to provide U.S. farmers an effective and sustainable tool to protect their crops and enhance yield.” 

The project aims to transform GreenLight Bio’s active SDS soybean protection method from a non-commercial wet seed format to a commercially viable surface-dried seed treatment, addressing a critical need in plant protection against biotic stress. 

The Phase I funding will support early-stage research and development to demonstrate technical feasibility. By employing RNA interference (RNAi) technology, the seed treatment offers a unique plant-defense mediated mode of action against SDS and potentially other soy seedling fungal diseases. 

This grant is part of the $5.3 million investment by NIFA to spur small business-led innovation through its SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. The SBIR/STTR programs are designed to support small businesses in developing commercially viable solutions to significant scientific problems in agriculture. Phase I funding provides support and entrepreneurial resources for companies and technologies in the early stages of development. 

About GreenLight Biosciences 

GreenLight Biosciences is researching, developing and commercializing sustainable, effective, and easy-to-use solutions for farmers and beekeepers around the world to enable more resilient food production. As a leader in RNA for agriculture, the company has a broad pipeline addressing farmer pain points across insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides.  For more information, please visit the Company’s website

Media Contact:  
Catie Lee, VP Corporate Marketing & Public Affairs 

[email protected]