We hold one another to a high standard

At GreenLight, seven standards set out our expectations for one another, individually and collectively. We take these very seriously, and they govern the way GreenLight employees work with each other and represent us externally.

  1. We serve.  

We are a humanity-first enterprise, harnessing the power of biology to meet the needs of the human race and the planet we inhabit. Our investors, partners, and staff understand that we will always look to deliver benefits that are long-term and returns that are sustainable. Given the scale of the challenges we face, this is the only path that is both responsible and rewarding.

  1. We have great ambition.  

We look to solve large problems for large numbers of people, including many who are historically underserved. We ask ourselves how to make a greater impact, not how to make our own lives easier. We think not only about today’s children, but about their children.

  1. We commit to science.  

Our goals may come from the heart, but our words and actions are built firmly on science, data, and truth. We relentlessly pursue clear facts and strong solutions, and call out any pretense or bias that stands in their way.

  1. We take a stand. 

Since we work in the spirit of science, we find the courage to challenge conventional thinking. Only by doing this will we arrive at the vital breakthroughs that are needed to safeguard our human future

  1. We collaborate inclusively.  

We take on humanity-sized issues by looking at them from every angle and bringing together those who can make a difference. We strive to practice radical collaboration built on the principles of inclusion, diversity, and equality, not just because they are right but because they give us the greatest ability to push the boundaries of scientific discovery.

  1. We live in the real world. 

Our work is driven by the practical realities that people face now and tomorrow—in fields, homes, and hospitals. We work shoulder to shoulder with scientists, farmers, and doctors to deliver definitive results that support a healthier, more sustainable future.

  1. We care.  

We care for the planet, for the vast diversity of its current and future inhabitants, and for one another. To us, true care means tangible results, whether that is supporting other GreenLighters to meet personal goals or creating far-reaching access to clean food and the best healthcare.

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The world is in peril and aching for solutions

Environmental and social impact is inherent to our purpose and the underlying reason our company was launched. We were founded to develop sustainable solutions for the biggest issues facing humanity and the planet. GreenLight scientists are developing new solutions for public health challenges and sustainable food production to feed a growing population. We believe our environmental, social, and governance strategy is fundamental to achieving our mission and underscores everything we do at GreenLight.

There is a need to take immediate action to address the environmental crisis that is forcing the reconsideration of how products are made, from our homes to our food, to our clothing. Many modern approaches to produce food and drugs to keep the growing population healthy have had a negative effect on the health of the planet. Clear cutting forests for cattle, chemical residues on food, in the water and in the soil, nitrogen blooms in rivers, declining soil productivity, the loss of bees and other beneficial insects—these are all clear signs that the current system is not sustainable.

The world is running out of arable soil. For years, farmers have used effective petroleum-based chemical pesticides in the form of neonicotinoids, pyrethroids, carbamates, and organophosphates. Over time, these non-targeted products can have unintended negative consequences, including damage to beneficial insects and plants, and they can linger in the environment for years, eroding soil quality and polluting water resources.

Using RNA, we can create targeted biocontrols for agriculture. Biology also offers a fundamental shift in how things are made and disposed of a world where things grow and decay, creating circular, regenerative processes. Our goal is to have products that can help the environment, not harm it. GreenLight’s RNA is produced from natural materials using a clean enzymatic process with very little waste or harmful emissions and after application our RNA product candidates disappears in a few days.

We aim to provide farmers with safe-to-use, cost-effective, targeted biocontrols that stop pests while protecting crops, honeybees, and land before and after harvest. If we help farmers create greener, cleaner crops, they can provide consumers with the greener, cleaner foods they demand. Additionally, we also intend to provide farmers with safer products to handle, while helping farming families promote more sustainable land for future generations.

Values and biases can be embedded in the technologies that are made, in the applications that are considered, and in the ways problems are addressed. Inclusion of those who have historically been left out of the development of new technologies is essential to building equitable and positive outcomes. GreenLight was born from a passion to make our world more sustainable and more equitable. Our vision is to enable Africa, Asia, and Latin America to meet local demand through local production. Our novel RNA manufacturing process—quick to start, built for scale, and using small bioreactors—may be part of the solution.

An ecosystem thrives with more diversity, and the inclusion of many different voices is essential to growing our company. Team members are empowered to bring their best ideas forward, and leaders are always open to listen and act. We challenge one another to discover breakthroughs that advance our science to deliver on a common cause: sustaining the planet, protecting our food, saving lives. With equity, diversity, and inclusion principles as the foundation, we are relentlessly focused on cultivating a team with diverse backgrounds and perspectives. We are always thinking about how we can better serve our colleagues of different genders, ethnicities, generations, educational achievement, sexual orientation, and workstyles. These values and initiatives are not just a top-down corporate statement; they are an intrinsic part of our culture.

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Four metal pipes feed into a central pipe at the Greenlight factory

The impact of our high-quality low-cost RNA

Given the advantages of our platform, we aim to make the benefits of RNA, and other biologics, accessible to everyone.

For agriculture, we are developing products that promote sustainability and supplement or replace traditional pesticides and fungicides with RNA in farmers’ crop-protection programs.

In the next five years, our pipeline includes seven agricultural products planned for launch.

We anticipate this pipeline will demonstrate:

  1. Fast development of agricultural products. Our Colorado potato beetle product will, if approved, have taken five years from start to market compared to a typical 10-year cycle at major agribusinesses.
  1. Rapid integration of acquisitions. We acquired Bayer’s topical RNA treatment for honeybees in December 2020. By May 2021, we were conducting further field trials and intend to be ready for regulatory submission in 2022.
  1. Scaled production. Our Rochester RNA manufacturing facility can produce 500 kg dsRNA per year with the capability to readily expand to 1,000 kg. It currently provides samples for our field trials
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Our technology allows us to make cost-effective RNA

Our high-quality, low-cost RNA

We can make multiple forms of RNA at scale using a differentiated manufacturing platform. We believe our expertise and proprietary technology will allow us to bring RNA products quickly and cost-effectively to market.

Alternative RNA production methods are generally slow to develop and more expensive:

  • Cell-based fermentation does not achieve the cost needed for broadacre coverage in agriculture applications.
  • Conventional cell-free processes, such as in vitro transcription (IVT), are cost prohibitive for agricultural applications and require complex specialty input supply chains.

GreenLight has solved challenges to manufacturing at scale with:

  • Proprietary cell-free methodology that enables delivery of high volumes and less than $1/gram for the production of Technical Grade Active Ingredient (TGAI) dsRNA
  • Scalable and flexible architecture that accommodates manufacturing for a wide variety of applications

Put together, we believe our technologies and methods allow us to make scalable, cost-effective RNA.

Read more about our RNA manufacturing process

Carole Cobb, GreenLight Bio’s Former COO, shares some of the processing lessons from our manufacturing plant in Rochester, NY,  where the company is making dsRNA for agricultural uses.

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a close up of a bee perching on a flower

An introduction to RNA

RNA is present in all known life forms and plays an essential role in numerous biological processes, including transcription (where genetic code stored in DNA is converted to a more transportable RNA-based format), translation (of proteins that are also essential for life), and interference (e.g., to regulate gene expression).

Consequently, RNA molecules are being studied as potential products in many fields including agriculture agriculture and animal health.

RNA can be transformative for plant health:

  • Plant health—where the natural process for recycling double-stranded RNA can be leveraged to stop the production of specific protein necessary for the pest or pathogen to function. This forms the basis for targeted biopesticide against parasites (e.g protecting bee hives from Varroa mites)
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mouldy grapes affected by grapevine powdery mildew

In the pipeline: grapevine powdery mildew

Powdery mildew is the largest driver for pesticide use in viticulture.

Caused by Erysiphe necator, powdery mildew is the most common and destructive disease affecting grapes. Mostly observed on the upper surface of leaves as a dusty gray or white coating, the disease also strikes the lower surface, young stems, buds, flowers, canes, and fruit. Severely infected leaves may exhibit mottling or deformity, including leaf curling and withering. Infected fruit turn grayish-white first, then exhibit a brown, rusted appearance and may crack, shrivel, or drop from clusters.

In our first season of field trials, we were able to demonstrate disease control comparable to current leading chemical-control products. This was the first known test that exhibited in-field fungus control using dsRNA. 

Like our botrytis candidate’s timeline, we anticipate two to three more year of work developing our end-use candidate before pursuing regulatory approval, which would allow us to launch our first fungicides in 2026.

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In the pipeline: Lepidoptera

There are multiple asynchronous generations of caterpillars and larvae every year in tropical and subtropical regions, and in spite of weekly pesticide sprays, populations are showing resistance to control measures. The estimated cost associated with damage and management for Diamondback moth and fall armyworm is $4 to $5 billion and $13 billion, respectively. 

One of the key challenges to commercializing a product that controls lepidoptera is delivering the active ingredient to where it needs to go. We are evaluating promising delivery technologies that may be a solution to the issue. 

GreenLight Bio’s projects focus on ensuring intact dsRNA is delivered to the site of action and on demonstrating on-plant activity. Using our technology know-how, GreenLight Bio researchers and scientist are teaming up with world-class external collaborators to overcome logistical challenges and deliver a solution to control these agricultural pests. Our approach has shown a 50% increase in Diamondback moth mortality and 90% lower weight in Fall armyworm larvae, compared to naked dsRNA.

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In the pipeline: Two-spotted spider mite

The two-spotted spider mite has a wide crop host range. The mite consumes many fruits and vegetables and causes the yellowing of normally green leaves.

The polyphagous pest, managed in greenhouse and field settings, rapidly develops resistance to conventional insecticides, yielding losses of more than 10% in fruits and vegetables and up to 60% in row crops such as corn. The mite also damages economically important crops such as grapes.

GreenLight Bio is making progress in its solutions to control the mite. Within 10 days of applying GreenLight Bio’s sequences, the leaves in our tests show statistically significant mortality rates, with adult female mites’ survival near zero in vitro.

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In the pipeline: Fusarium

Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) is a fungal disease that affects wheat and small grains. The disease causes more than $290 million in losses annually in the US alone, a figure that can climb to $1 billion in years when heavy disease is present.

GreenLight Bio is working with sequences that show promise for controlling Fusarium, which secretes mycotoxins harmful to humans and animals. Mycotoxins, such as deoxynivalenol (DON), are regulated in the food chain because of high toxicity to mammals. High levels of DON reduce grain quality and marketability.

GreenLight Bio is pursuing both Fusarium control and novel DON reduction strategies to create a compelling product for grain growers and the food and agriculture value chain.

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In the pipeline: Pollen beetle

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a colorado potato beetle sits on a leaf

Calantha for effective, precise, and environmentally-friendly Colorado potato beetle

To learn more, visit our product page or read our press release on the EPA registration of Calantha. Calantha is the first GreenLight Bio product to complete U.S. regulatory review and be available for commercial sale.  It is also under review by regulators in other key markets around the world.

The Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) accounts for more than $500 million in crop loss worldwide annually. The beetle, which decimates plants in the nightshade family, easily develops resistance to pesticides. Multiple modes of action are needed to successfully control CPB infestations, especially in areas with multiple generations.

GreenLight Bio’s technology is easy to use, and it can help. Our application is mixed with water and sprayed using standard agricultural practice over crops, at less than one-tenth the rate at which many conventional industrial chemicals are normally used on fields.

Beetles can devastate potato crops that are left untreated

We have conducted more than 100 field trials over four years to develop a solution that is effective at just 9.9 g/hectare, equivalent to a spoonful of sugar spread on a football field. Consumption of the dsRNA causes the Colorado potato beetle to stop eating and expire from its own toxins.

The application has been designed to be highly specific to affect the target pest. Our testing has shown that our Colorado potato beetle product does not harm honeybees, butterflies, and several other nontarget insects and mammals at use rates 100 times higher than our recommended rate. It degrades in water and soil within three days to benign, natural nucleotides.

The product is designed to work well with standard growers’ programs to control first- or second-generation Colorado potato beetles. It controls all stages of the life of this beetle but is most effective on young larvae up to one-quarter inch in length.

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In the pipeline: Botrytis

Botrytis cinerea, which causes grey mold and bunch rot, is an ever-present global threat for fresh fruit and vegetables. It is a major pathogen and causes disease in more than 1,400 cultivated species, affects 80% of crops grown, and can result in up to 30% yield loss. 

Even greater losses can occur when Botrytis develops en route to the consumer. Given how frequently crops such as grapes, berries, and onions need to be sprayed, resistance to existing chemical fungicides can build quickly and produce can carry residues of multiple products. 

Botrytis has long been a target for new biological fungicides, but excessive rain or humidity can affect conventional solutions.

GreenLight Bio’s technology can help. Field trials using our dsRNA design sequences in 2021 in the US and Europe show that our first potential fungicide product reduced Botrytis levels on strawberries. Trials at two sites show reduction in disease severity compared to untreated check.

We anticipate two to three more years of product development with the goal of launching our first in-season product in 2027, subject to regulatory approval.

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