RTP’s AgBiome Signs Partnership to Develop Pest-Resistant Corn Products
AgBiome, an agricultural technology firm that harnesses plant microbiomes to develop novel crop protection products, is teaming up with a French ag tech company to develop biotech corn traits resistant to the most common species of insect pests in maize.
The strategic partnership with Paris-based Genective aims to establish a new leader in traits to battle lepidopteran and coleopteran insects, a market with over $5 billion in annual opportunities.
“This partnership marries AgBiome’s industry-best trait discovery platform with Genective’s access to key germplasm and breeding resources,” said Eric Ward, co-CEO of AgBiome, in a statement.
“Together we have vastly increased the value proposition around trait development for both companies. Growers are eager for new solutions and our partnership will deliver them.”
AgBiome, a Research Triangle Park-based 2013 spinout from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, raised $34.5 million in 2015. It has also received investments from Harris and Harris Group and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
AgBiome uses the plant microbiome to identify and develop genetic traits that provide resistance to pests. Its Genesis platform screens trillions of microbes, millions of gene sequences and thousands of strains. It has discovered 3,500 new insect control genes and 200 active lead strains.
Genective, which has its U.S. headquarters in Champaign, Illinois, is a joint venture between Limagrain and KWS, two of the world’s largest seed companies. With entities in North America, South America, Europe and Asia, Genective is dedicated to the research, development and commercialization of transgenic traits.
Transgenic plants have genes from another species inserted into their genetic makeup. These genes can come from another plant or from another organism, such as a bacterium. The inserted genes modify the plant to improve traits such as resistance to disease, pests, herbicides and stress or to increase crop yield and quality.
AgBiome partners with the microbial world to improve our planet. AgBiome’s core business discovers and develops innovative biological and trait products for crop protection. Through its commercial subsidiary, AgBiome Innovations, Inc., the company develops and sells proprietary crop protection solutions. LifeEDIT, an AgBiome subsidiary, deploys proprietary genome editing systems to address human genetic diseases and high-value crop traits.