ST. LOUIS, Jan. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Monsanto Company today announced it has purchased select assets of Agradis, Inc. (Agradis), a privately held company focused on developing sustainable agricultural solutions. Monsanto's purchase includes the Agradis name and its collection of microbes that can improve crop productivity. Monsanto has also acquired the company's R&D site in La Jolla, California. Additional details were not disclosed. Agradis was formed in 2011 by Synthetic Genomics Inc (SGI), a privately held company led by J. Craig Venter, Ph.D. Founder and CEO, dedicated to developing genomic-driven solutions to address global challenges, and Plenus, S.A. de C.V. (Plenus) a Mexico-based investing and management company headed by Alfonso Romo, which has extensive experience in a variety of business areas, including agribusiness. The assets of Agradis not purchased by Monsanto include castor and sweet sorghum breeding and genetic optimization technologies, as well as a novel product used to prevent fungal growth on fruits and vegetables. These assets will continue to be advanced by SGI and Plenus in a new company, AgraCast. "Agradis' collection of plant associated microbes will support Monsanto's efforts to provide farmers with sustainable biological products to improve crop health and productivity," said Steve Padgette, Monsanto R&D investment strategy lead. "We value the expertise and capabilities the Agradis team brings to Monsanto as we continue to build on this exciting area of research." Dr. Venter stated, "SGI and Plenus formed Agradis with the belief that our extensive expertise in microbial genomics could accelerate advances in agriculture. We are pleased that Monsanto realizes the potential of the Agradis science and technology as evidenced by their acquisition of some key assets of the company. We look forward to working with Monsanto to continue to generate innovation in agribusiness."