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The Business Magazine July 2024
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Oxford’s Moa signs deal with Australian firm for novel herbicide

The Business Magazine article image for: Oxford’s Moa signs deal with Australian firm for novel herbicide
Dr Virginia Corless, CEO of Moa
8 July 2024
Dr Virginia Corless, CEO of Moa

Agricultural biotech firm Moa Technology has signed a research and commercial partnership with Nufarm, a global agricultural innovator based in Melbourne, Australia.

Moa has discovered several promising new classes of herbicide with its breakthrough innovation platform, which are currently in field trials in the US, UK, France and Spain.

The deal provides Nufarm exclusive access to a new mode of action (Moa) product in one of these classes.

Weeds pose a serious and increasing threat to crop harvests around the world, and there is growing demand from farmers for new, safe and effective weed management solutions.  

In return, Moa will receive upfront payments, milestone development payments and eventual royalties from sales of the herbicide, which could be the first broad spectrum agricultural herbicide to work in a completely different way in forty years.

Nufarm will also exclusively retain the option to commercialise other Moa compounds from the same mode of action area.

Together, Moa and Nufarm will be responsible for steering the new chemical series through the research phase – expected to take around two years – while Nufarm will lead the final phases of development and go-to-market.

Spun out of Oxford University in 2017, Moa has developed a proprietary biological platform to discover a whole new generation of synthetic and bioherbicidal compounds based on novel modes of action, to provide farmers with safe, cost-effective solutions.

Moa says its platform has screened more than 750,000 compounds over the past three years and discovered 60 promising novel modes of action areas, with multiple candidates already in field trials following successful laboratory validation and glasshouse testing.

Dr. Virginia Corless, CEO of Moa Technology, said: “This agreement is further validation of our unique capability to find new herbicidal modes of action at an unprecedented rate and optimise them into viable candidates for commercialisation.

“Our talented team is working hard to provide new options to help farmers to grow food sustainably, and that means finding forward-looking partners like Nufarm who share our vision and want to work with us on the next stages of development and commercialization.”  

Rico Christensen, Nufarm group executive portfolio solutions, added: “Nufarm is transforming agriculture by bringing new innovative crop protection and seed solutions to farmers.

“This agreement with Moa is another important milestone which will potentially bring new mode of action herbicides to help address the challenge of resistant weeds which are estimated to cost farmers billions every year.”


Born and raised in Berkshire, Dan fell into journalism after completing his bachelor’s degree in English at UCL.

Writing for The Business Magazine and local Biz News sites has given him the opportunity to chat with all manner of small business owners and share their success stories with a wider audience.

Outside of work, Dan enjoys live music, board games and quiz shows, and is making a slow but persistent effort to learn Spanish.

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