MoA Technology, the Oxford University start-up specialising in new herbicide modes of action, has appointed a chief executive to oversee business growth.

The Oxford-based business was spun out of the University in 2018 with the aim of developing next generation sustainable herbicides with new modes of action from both natural and synthetic chemistry. It was co-founded by Professor Liam Dolan FRS, the Sherardian Professor of Botany at the Oxford University Department of Plant Sciences, and Dr Clement Champion. The company recently secured £6.3 million in Series A funding to finance its growth.

Dr Virginia Corless becomes chief executive from March 2021. An astrophysicist, Dr Corless’ career has been built on sustainability – from working on clean energy technologies for the US Senate to a food-energy-water nexus at the Sahara Forest Project. She was most recently chief growth officer for Novihum Technologies, a German agritech company exploring the improvement of agricultural soils.

MoA Technology has developed three proprietary platforms – Galaxy, Target and Select – using genetics, trait analysis and data analytics to speed up the herbicide discovery process and identify new, effective and environmentally sustainable herbicides. The first candidate is due to start field trials this year.

“With break-through science addressing a vital market need, MoA is poised to deliver sustainable crop protection solutions that support farmers and rural communities while contributing to a healthier and more sustainable food supply,” says Dr Corless.