US-base light-emitting diode (LED) product developer Illumitex entered into a strategic agreement with Switzerland-based agribusiness corporation Syngenta last week. Syngenta Ventures, the corporate venturing division of Syngenta, will contribute to Illumitex’s latest round of funding as part of the agreement. The news followed a strategic alliance agreement Illumitex signed with the Australia-based Gerard Lighting Group last month, which involved Gerard investing $3m in Illumitex. A filing with the US Securities and Exchanges Commission in June indicated that Illumitex had raised $13.5m out of a planned $25.2m, with venture capital firms DFJ Mercury and New Enterprise Associates both participating. Board members of both firms were signatories to a $3.4m funding round in December 2010, as well as a representative of prior investor Aweida Ventures. All three firms invested in Illumitex’s series B round, which raised $5.2m, in April 2009, while Illumitex’s series A round garnered $10.5m, in April 2008, from undisclosed investors. Syngenta is planning to use Illumitex’s LED technology in its greenhouses in order to develop next generation plant production techniques. Illumitex will invest the additional capital in research and development, while expanding sales and marketing for its existing products. Jon Campbell, head of partnerships and scouting for Syngenta’s lawn and garden business, said: "As an LED manufacturer, Illumitex has solved the two previous impediments to successfully utilizing LED lighting in horticulture applications: color uniformity on the plants and cost per delivered photon." Campbell continued: "The combination of Illumitex’s LED technology and Syngenta’s deep understanding of plants will enable the development of integrated customer solutions to deliver better plants, more efficiently."

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