The demand for agricultural technology – or AgTech – is driven by the world’s growing population: we must double our food output by 2050 in order to feed the planet. The global AgTech industry is continually developing new technology-based solutions and tools to improve the health and function of plants, animals, and microorganisms, so that growers can meet this demand. These solutions include genetically modified crops, advanced breeding techniques, microbial seed and foliar treatments and other biologics, precision agriculture, production animal therapeutics and diagnostics, biofuels and enzymatic applications.
We recognize that the challenges confronting AgTech businesses are numerous, but we are confident that our clients will continue to find opportunities to grow and thrive. That is why we have built a team of AgTech lawyers who understand the industry. Our team has extensive experience advising companies in all phases of technology development and commercialization, including in areas such as genome editing, gene discovery, trait development and licensing, crop protection, cloud biology, plant-made pharmaceuticals, microbials, systems biology, animal health, biofuels and precision agriculture. In addition, we advise AgTech companies on protecting and enforcing intellectual property rights, including trademark prosecution, maintenance and counselling, advertising counselling and strategic litigation risk management.
Members of our team include lawyers with backgrounds in biology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics and physics. This experience enables a deep understanding of our clients’ business goals, which in turn leads to practical advice and meaningful results.
The breadth of our experience on mission-critical AgTech transactions is international in scope. We have advised or worked across the table from five of the “Big Six” agricultural technology companies. We have counseled our clients in over 100 AgTech collaborations, including over 50 international deals involving more than 40 different partners outside the United States. Total deal value for our AgTech transaction experience exceeds $2 billion.
Our lawyers are also active participants in the AgTech ecosystem. In particular, our team has been integrally involved in establishing North Carolina’s thriving Research Triangle Park region as an internationally recognized center of AgTech innovation.
Leading the Industry
Our practice is one of nine in the world to be recognized in the Agribusiness chapter of 2020 Chambers Global. According to clients, the Smith Anderson team "is always extremely mindful of the areas and ways we work, always helpful, and creative in thinking how to get through difficult situations."
Highlights of our experience include:
- Over $875 million in venture capital, financing, acquisition and public offering transactions for AgTech companies ranging from animal health to crop/trait development and genome editing
- Over 100 AgTech research, development, license and collaboration agreements, totaling in excess of $550 million in cumulative value plus royalties, including over 30 transactions involving five of the six largest agriculture companies in the world
- Represented a venture capital-funded biotechnology company that uses the plant-associated microbiome to create innovative agricultural products in an R&D collaboration with a leading global agricultural biotechnology company for discovery, development and commercialization of crop trait products
- Represented a private ag biotech company in a $400 million sale to public ag company in a cash and milestone-based transaction
- Advised a biotechnology company focused on discovery of complex traits for improving intrinsic yield in plants in multiple research collaborations and commercial partnerships with agricultural biotechnology companies in the U.S., France and Brazil
- Represented a leading genome editing company in over a dozen research, collaboration, licensing and development agreements ranging from human therapeutics to row plant crop applications and specialty plant crop applications
- Represented a venture capital funded agricultural biotechnology company in its acquisition by a public company buyer
- Represents institutional investors in portfolio company financings, including seed financings of technology, life sciences and ag biotech companies
- Advised in a worldwide exclusive license and research collaboration between our client, a biotechnology company and a leading global animal health company, to develop and commercialize animal vaccines
- Advised in worldwide non-exclusive licenses by our client, an agricultural biotechnology company, to leading global agricultural companies for development of agronomic traits
- Advised in a worldwide exclusive license of genome engineering technology by our client, a charitable organization that supports development of agricultural disease resistance technologies, to a global biotechnology tools company
News & Publications
- U.S. News and Best Lawyers® 2021 “Best Law Firms” Ranks Smith Anderson Nationally and Regionally in 45 Practice AreasU.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms”, 11.05.2020
- Client Elo Life Systems Partners with Dole Food Company to Develop Banana Varieties Resistant to Devastating Fungal Disease08.11.2020
- Food Tech Company Pairwise Partners with PSI to Produce New Varieties of Raspberries and Blackberries04.17.2020
- Chambers Global, 02.14.2020
- U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms”, 11.01.2019
- Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED), 10.31.2019
- Smith Anderson Ranks Nationally and Regionally in Practice Areas by U.S. News and Best Lawyers® 2019 “Best Law Firms”U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms”, 11.07.2018
- Precision BioSciences Inks Strategic Collaboration with Gilead Sciences Valued at Up to $445 Million09.18.2018
- Smith Anderson Strengthens its National Technology Transactions Practice with the Addition of Darrell Fruth05.02.2018
- Smith Anderson Advises on Deals with Monsanto, Harvard for AgTech Company to Advance Innovation in Agriculture04.02.2018
- Triangle Business Journal, 12.06.2017
- Triangle Business Journal, 11.28.2017
- Council for Entrepreneurial Development, Website, 10.30.2017
- Recognized Nationally for Best-in-Class Client Service, Smith Anderson is Named to the BTI Client Service A-Team11.30.2016
- U.S. News and Best Lawyers® Recognizes Smith Anderson in 38 Practice Categories, Awards Firm Two National Ratings11.01.2016
- Genome Editing Client Precision BioSciences to be Awarded Prestigious Deal of Distinction™ Award at LES Annual Meeting10.17.2016
- 2017 The Best Lawyers in America© Guide Recognizes 62 Smith Anderson Lawyers – Most in the Firm’s History08.15.2016
- Credit to WRAL TechWire (reprinted with permission), 06.07.2016
- Chambers USA, 06.01.2016
- Smith Anderson Partner John Therien Honored as 2016 “40 Under 40” Award Recipient by Triangle Business Journal05.18.2016
- Smith Anderson Ranked Nationally as a Top 100 Firm for Client Service: Named to BTI Client Service A-Team01.04.2016