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Posted 17 November 2014

Leading European agricultural co-operative group acquires stake in UCD spin-in company, Life Scientific

InVivo, the largest agricultural co-operative group in France, and a leading player in the industry globally, with revenues of €5.7 billion, has acquired a 50% stake in Life Scientific, an Irish R&D company and a UCD spin-in company, which specialises in off-patent crop protection products.

InVivo is a union of over 220 farming co-operatives and has a combined membership of over 300,000 farmers. It works together with its member co-operatives to develop sustainable and profitable solutions enabling farmers to secure their production and revenue. It currently employs 6,600 people in 20 countries.

Pictured far right:  Nicola Mitchell, founder, CEO, Life Scientific at NovaUCD

Life Scientific was established by Nicola Mitchell in 1995. It is currently headquartered at NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at University College Dublin. The company, which has an annual turnover of over €10 million and  currently employs 20 people (mainly scientists, and including eight PhDs), has well established links with University College Dublin and Enterprise Ireland.

Laurent Martel, Director of InVivo’s Agriculture Division, has been appointed Chairman of Life Scientific while Nicola Mitchell retains her position as CEO of Life Scientific.

One of the main priorities in InVivo’s crop protection policy is the implementation of innovations from crop protection companies through on-the-ground support in the marketing of its specialty products.  InVivo is also seeking to maintain on the market off-patent products essential to the development of crop protection programmes. This range of solutions will in the future be extended to include biocontrol products.

Laurent Martel, Director of InVivo Agriculture Division and Chairman of Life Scientific, said, “Our aim is to form upstream partnerships with suppliers able to meet our specifications, with a view to marketing selected post-patent products. Our acquisition of a stake in Life Scientific, approved unanimously by our Board of Directors, is part of that strategy.”

Nicola Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer of Life Scientific, said, “The transaction concluded with InVivo will allow us to scale our proven business model, both in France and globally. It will strengthen our engagement with our customers, the InVivo cooperative members, and is a major endorsement of Life Scientific’s continued capacity to innovate on a global scale.”

The move is fully in line with the “2025 by InVivo” strategy and in particular with InVivo Agro’s strategy of forming strategic alliances to invest in innovation and bring the Union’s cooperatives and their members a broader range of sustainable and profitable solutions.


NovaUCD, the hub for new ventures and entrepreneurs at University College Dublin, nurtures and supports new high-tech and knowledge-intensive companies as part of UCD’s innovation mission. NovaUCD provides purpose-built, state-of-the-art incubation facilities alongside a comprehensive business support programme for its client companies such as Life Scientific. It has been funded through a unique public-private partnership that includes AIB Bank, Arthur Cox, Deloitte, Enterprise Ireland, Ericsson, Goodbody Stockbrokers, UCD and Xilinx.


(Produced by UCD University Relations)


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