TRENDLINES GROUP's share price weakened today, likely on news that its licence for incubating agritech start-ups, which is nearing expiry, has been awarded to another party in a very competitive tender held by the Israeli government.

The stock closed 4% lower at 19.2 cents with 2.15 million shares changing hands. It's trading below its IPO price of 33 cents in Nov 2015.. 

However, the loss of the licence does not impact Trendlines Group materially.

It will migrate its agritech investments to its
 Trendlines Medical license, and invest with the same government support, said Co-Chairman and Co-CEO Todd Dollinger (photo) today in Singapore where he gave a presentation at CIMB which NextInsight attended. 

The migration will take place once its current agritech licence expires on June 30 this year. 

"We have enjoyed the prestige the license carried; it helped us build a very strong business for Trendlines Agtech, Israel’s only company fully dedicated to early-stage agritech investment," said Mr Dollinger. 

“Over the past eight years, Trendlines has enjoyed two of the 18 licences under the Office of Chief Scientist (OCS) programme, among other global renowned names in various sectors. The OCS has been a great supporter of Trendlines, noting our performance in innovation commercialization by twice giving us the “best incubator” award and five times giving us “best start-up” awards. 

"In January the government granted us an extension of our medical incubator licence for an additional 8 years.  The OCS has chosen to diversify its partnership profile under the incubator programme and introduce a new licensee to the market (in place of Trendlines Agtech).” – Todd Dollinger

Under the licence, Trendlines receives grants of US$543,000 from the Israeli government for each agritech start-up that it approves.

"We will continue investing in agritech as before, and we will continue our work developing our existing portfolio companies," said Mr Dollinger.

"Once our direct Trendlines Agtech license expires in June, we will, pending final Office of Chief Scientist approval, handle our Trendlines Agtech investments under our Trendlines Medical license, allowing us to continue to invest with the same government support by combining our agtech and medical investment work with the Israeli government under one license. 

"We expect to enjoy a more efficient cost structure as we combine our investment and incubation activities under one license, while continuing to enjoy government funding to support our investments in young companies with great potential in both medical and agricultural technologies."

CIMB3.16Trendlines Group's Todd Dollinger presenting the company's story to CIMB remisiers today (16 March). NextInsight photo

(By the way, the party that was awarded the licence by the Israeli government was a consortium comprising, among others, Cleveland Clinic, one of the top hospitals in the US. Given their top-notch potential contribution in developing innovations in the medical field and given the potential economic benefits to Israel, the government awarded the licence to the consortium. It opened the door for Trendlines Agtech to be continued to be supported under the Trendlines Medical incubator licence.)

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