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Syngenta paying $113 million for Florida company

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Agribusiness giant Syngenta has agreed to pay up to $113 million to acquire a Florida company that it has been collaborating with on products to combat microscopic worms called nematodes that damage crops.

The Switzerland-based company announced today that it will acquire Pasteuria Bioscience for $86 million, plus up to $27 million in deferred payments. Pasteuria, which was founded in 2003 and has 21 employees, entered into a technology partnership with Syngenta last year.

"Results from our partnership have shown that Pasteuria provides superior control of nematodes in a wide variety of applications," John Atkin, Syngenta's chief operating officer, said in a prepared statement.

Syngenta's biotechnology research arm is headquartered in RTP, where it employs more than 400 workers and is in the final stages of a $71 million expansion that includes high-tech greenhouses.

The first product based on Pasteuria's technology will be a treatment applied to soybean seeds that is expected to be launched in the U.S. in time for the 2014 growing season, said Syngenta spokesman Steven Goldsmith. Products for other crops also are in the works.

Pasteuria and its employees will remain at a University of Florida biotechnology incubator in Alachua.

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About the blogger

David Ranii has been a business reporter at The News & Observer since 1993. Over the years he has covered information technology, banking, insurance, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, media businesses and real estate. Contact him at 919-829-4877 or e-mail him.