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Novozymes, Monsanto Sign $300M BioAg Alliance

Row crops are only part of the new alliance between Novozymes and Monsanto. Photo Courtesy of Novozymes North America

Novozymes and Monsanto announced a $300 million alliance today to develop and sell new agricultural products based on microbes such as bacteria and fungi.

Hundreds of North Carolinians working for the two global agricultural giants, meanwhile, are hoping the partnership, dubbed the BioAg Alliance, will be positive news for the state when the deal is finalized in early 2014.

Adam Monroe, regional president Americas, Novozymes North America, said it's too soon to know what will happen where.

“It’s too early to tell exactly where the work will be done," he said. "Novozymes and Monsanto both have talented BioAg R&D teams around the world and we will be thinking about how to use our sites and people in the best way to bring new products to market. We will still rely on colleagues across the global R&D organization for the important work necessary for success. As part of our evaluation, we will also consider future talent needs.“

North Carolina is the global leader in ag biotech, with more than 80 agricultural biotechnology companies. Five of the six world leaders have operations in the state - Bayer CropScience, BASF Plant Science, Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer and Syngenta. Three (Bayer, Syngenta, and BASF) have global or North American headquarters located here.

During the first seven months of 2013:

  • Eight ag biotech companies have announced more than $300 million in prospective investments in North Carolina.
  • Thirteen ag biotech companies have announced approximately 950 prospective jobs for North Carolina.
  • A number of these companies, including BASF, Bayer CropScience and Syngenta, have had multiple investment and jobs announcements.

NCBiotech growing NC's ag biotech sector

NCBiotech has been active in promoting ag biotech growth statewide through grants, loans, recruitment and other targeted support. After more than $19 million in grants to help commercialize ag biotech research, every dollar of outlay has been met with more than $64 of additional funding. And with nearly $3 million in loans to young ag biotech businesses, every dollar invested has yielded $295 in additional funding.

Today's agreement calls for Monsanto to pay Novozymes $300 million to develop and manufacture new products that Monsanto will test, shepherd through regulatory hurdles and bring to the marketplace.

Monsanto describes microbial-based products as those derived from naturally occurring microorganisms that are normally applied to seeds before planting, in-furrow or sprayed on crops. They protect crops from pests and diseases and enhance plant productivity and fertility without the need for genetic modification.

Monsanto added that microbials can work alone or complement traditional methods of plant production and protection.

Both companies have major NC impact

Novozymes, a global industrial biotechnology company, employs some 500 people at its North American headquarters in Franklinton. It's a world leader in commercializing enzymes, microorganisms and biopharmaceutical ingredients, harnessing the chemical productivity of microorganisms through fermentation to create more than 700 enzyme products used in 130 countries across more than 30 industries.

a research lab to study vegetable taste and nutrition at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis.

Monsanto, which already employs some 70 R&D people in Research Triangle Park and several more at a soy-breeding research station in Mount Olive, is the 18th company to set up shop at the growing Kannapolis facility.

- See more at: http://www.ncbiotech.org/article/monsanto-joins-ncrc-firms#sthash.co1qYJ...

a research lab to study vegetable taste and nutrition at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis.

Monsanto, which already employs some 70 R&D people in Research Triangle Park and several more at a soy-breeding research station in Mount Olive, is the 18th company to set up shop at the growing Kannapolis facility.

- See more at: http://www.ncbiotech.org/article/monsanto-joins-ncrc-firms#sthash.co1qYJ...

Monsanto has a research lab to study vegetable taste and nutrition at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis. It also has a greenhouse and R&D facility in Research Triangle Park and a soy-breeding research station in Mount Olive.

Monsanto has also collaborated with other North Carolina ag biotech companies, including BASF Plant Science and Syngenta. And after a successful multi-year collaboration, preceded by bootstrapping grants and loans from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Duke University spinout GrassRoots Biotechnology was bought by Monsanto in June of 2013.

Plans to deliver 'entirely new category' of products

Monsanto and Novozymes said today's new alliance positions them "to deliver an entirely new category of more effective microbial solutions for global broad-acre crops, fruit and vegetables." Under the collaboration:

  • Monsanto and Novozymes will maintain independent and complementary internal and external discovery research programs to identify microbial targets with the potential to help farmers.
  • Novozymes will be responsible for production and supply of the microbial solutions to Monsanto, building on its expertise within fermentation. Monsanto will serve as the lead for field testing, registration and commercialization of all alliance products.
  • The companies will co-manage the alliance and co-fund research and development efforts.
  • Marketing responsibility for Novozymes’ current product portfolio in agricultural biologicals will be transferred to Monsanto along with much of the Novozymes commercial organization currently responsible for that work. The two companies will work to ensure that existing customer relationships and know-how are maintained and further built on for short- and long-term success.
  • Both companies will benefit from profits on commercialized products resulting from this alliance and those products brought into the alliance by the parties. Through the alliance, the companies will also test and sell commercial microbial products purchased from other suppliers to bring additional value to farmers.

 “As the world population grows at tremendous pace over the next decades, we need to significantly increase the output from our land without increasing the pressure on the environment,” said Novozymes CEO Peder Holk Nielsen, in a published statement.

 “Today, we forge a game-changing alliance with the potential to transform global agriculture. The combined capabilities of Novozymes and Monsanto create an innovation powerhouse with a unique opportunity and approach to unleash the transformational opportunity in naturally derived microbial solutions in agriculture.”

Robb Fraley, Ph.D., Monsanto chief technology officer added, “ Just as Monsanto has done with leadership investments in our precision agriculture platform, we see this collaboration as being the same type of catalyst for taking our biologicals work from a technology to a full-fledged platform that represents the next layer of opportunity for growers to drive yield and productivity while helping the preservation of finite natural resources in our precious planet.”

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