Hudson River Biotechnology raises new financing for novel breeding techniques

Published on
April 11, 2024

Wageningen, Netherlands-based company is developing new varieties of crops to support sustainable food production and the transition to a global bioeconomy. Hudson River Biotechnology has raised an investment round from Oost NL and the Spanish agro-innovation company Eurogenetic. The Wageningen-based company develops new crops for the seed breeding industry based on CRISPR technology. The investment will enable Hudson River Biotechnology to scale up commercially and further develop its technology. Oost NL will be investing from the Gelderland Innovation and Energy Fund. 

Hudson River Biotechnology develops agronomic and consumer traits while the changing climate is accelerating the development of more resilient crops. Where similar crop adjustments would traditionally take seven to ten years, Hudson River Biotechnology is able to do so in two to four years.  

 CRISPR improves crop quality  

Hudson River Biotechnology uses CRISPR technology for the breeding of plant varieties. Adjustments are made to the genetic code of crops at a molecular level. This makes it possible to change plant properties precisely and efficiently. This can create improvements in yield, higher nutrition composition, or longer shelf life. The European Parliament recently agreed to relax the rules for new genetic techniques such as CRISPR which is a major milestone for global acceptance. A clear distinction is made between, on the one hand, the long-standing GMO crops, which contain transgenic DNA (for example to combine with herbicides) that are still banned from the market, and on the other hand the new CRISPR crops which do not contain transgenic DNA.  

The fact that Europe is giving the green light is an important step for us,” explains Ferdinand Los, CEO and co-founder of Hudson River Biotechnology. “After several years of development, CRISPR has become a mature technology. This allows us to supply the plants we need for the future, in a safe and controlled manner.

Investment for further development  

After the latest regulatory news from Europe, this latest round of inverstment was led by Oost NL and Eurogenetic of Spain.  

This is a new milestone for us, Los explains. “The investment will allow us to further scale up commercially on the one hand and work on new products and services on the other. Oost NL has supported us with their network and advice since the start of our company. And with Eurogenetic we gain an important strategic partner who can take us further internationally.” Existing investors, including Bridford Group and angel investor Elaine Groenestein, also welcome the investment by Oost NL and Eurogenetic.  

Wout Morrenhof, Food investment manager at Oost NL stated that “to ensure sufficient sustainably produced food in the future, it is necessary to invest in new technologies. Hudson River Biotechnology is a scale-up that has been working on important innovations in plant improvements for years. With this investment, the company can develop further and thus contribute to long-term food security.”  

Hudson River Biotechnology currently employs 30 people. The company is strongly anchored in the Food Valley region, including through connections with StartLife, Wageningen UR, Radboud University and University of Twente.