The investment arm of German chemical and biotech giant BASF and Orbia Ventures are investing in Israeli biotech start-up FortePhest to develop technology to combat herbicide-resistant weeds and invasive plants.

FortePhest had developed proprietary herbicides (H-Forte) which disrupted the homeostasis of free amino acids in plant cells and selectively targeted a weed’s meristems, stopping shoot and root development, without harm to corn, wheat and other crops, BASF Venture Capital and Orbia Ventures said on 10 February.

“The capital will enable FortePhest to accelerate its development programmes and work with potential global strategic partners to commercialise novel crop protection products that meet future regulatory requirements,” FortePhest co-founder and CEO Alex Kozak said.

The financial details of the investment, which also involved funding by Sherpa InnoVentures, SIBF II and other investors, were not disclosed.

BVC’s activities focus on the generation of new growth potential for BASF’s current and future business areas by investing in young companies and funds and it has offices in Brazil, China, Europe, India, Israel and the USA.

BASF’s portfolio is organised into six segments: chemicals; materials; industrial solutions; surface technologies; nutrition & care and agricultural solutions.

Orbia Ventures is the venture investment arm of Orbia, which operates in the agriculture, data communications, building and infrastructure, fluorinated solutions and polymer sectors. Orbia is active in more than 110 countries and operations in over 50, with global headquarters in Amsterdam, Boston, Mexico City and Tel Aviv.