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Pairwise has closed its $90m Series B funding round led by Pontifax Global Food and Agriculture Technology Fund, as well as existing investor Deerfield Management Company.

Among the other investors in the Series B round were Temasek, an investment company based in Singapore and existing investor Leaps by Bayer.

The firm intends to develop genetically enhanced fresh produce in North America.

Tapping CRISPR technology, Pairwise is working on developing fruits and vegetables that have improved taste, enhanced convenience, increased shelf life, improved yield, simplified harvesting and with lengthened season availability.

According to the CDC, only 10% of people in the US eat the recommended daily allowance of fruits and vegetables.

To tackle challenges of inconsistent flavour, seeds, shelf life, year-round availability, and snackability, Pairwise aims to bring new varieties of nutritious fruits and vegetables that consumers prefer to eat.

The firm is currently developing new types of leafy greens, berries and cherries.  Its first product is expected in 2022.

Pairwise CEO Tom Adams said: “People see innovation all around them, except in the produce aisle. We will give consumers new options that make healthy eating easier and more exciting.

“With this additional funding from industry-leading investors, Pairwise is taking a bold step toward achieving our mission of building a healthier world.”

Pairwise developed a crop trait development platform, based on gene-editing technology that has been licensed from research organisations, including Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard (Broad Institute).

The firm was founded by CEO Dr Tom Adams and chief business officer Dr Haven Baker, along with co-founders Dr David Liu, of Harvard University, Dr Feng Zhang, of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Dr J Keith Joung, of Massachusetts General Hospital.

In 2018, Pairwise raised $25m through Series A round to develop its gene-editing platform and initial product portfolio.

The company then also announced a $100m collaboration with Bayer Crop Science to further gene-editing tools in corn, soybeans, wheat, canola and cotton.

Within three years, the firm has grown to 100 team members across two locations in Durham, North Carolina.

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