Monsanto, NRGene Announce Global Licensing Agreement

The technology platform will help Monsanto analyze, store and mine its industry-leading broad genomic data sets.

Monsanto Company (No. 43 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list) and NRGene has announced that the companies have reached a non-exclusive, multi-year global licensing agreement on NRGene's genome-analysis technology to enhance Monsanto's ability to predict, compare and select the best genetic makeup from its vast data sets of genetic, genomic and trait information.


NRGene's platform, GenoMAGIC, was developed by a unique mix of highly experienced algorithm designers, software engineers, plant breeders and plant geneticists and is used by seed companies and major academic and research institutions around the world.

"Monsanto employs best-in-class data analytics technologies to help unlock the genetic potential of our research and development pipeline for our farmer customers," said Tom Osborn, Monsanto's Molecular Breeding Technology Director. "Our focus on data is allowing us make better decisions than ever before – and with GenoMAGIC, we expect to provide our plant breeders with a more comprehensive view to improve their analyses and decisions."

"Monsanto is a global leader in technology that provides farmers with high-yielding seed hybrids and varieties, and we are proud that they have selected GenoMAGIC as a tool to support their advanced breeding programs," says Dr. Gil Ronen, NRGene Chief Executive Officer. "Partnering with companies like Monsanto – combined with our recent achievements, including being the first to map the wheat genome – are significant milestones on our roadmap to become the worldwide leader of genomic big data solutions."

Both companies noted their dedication to developing technologies that support farmers as they work to grow better harvests, protect their crops and deliver more to society in the face of mounting environmental challenges. Monsanto's research and development (R&D) pipeline is focused on providing solutions to those challenges through plant breeding, plant biotechnology, crop protection, ag biologicals, and data science.

With nearly half of Monsanto's annual R&D investment focused on plant breeding, the use of leading genome analysis technologies like GenoMAGIC – along with the industry's largest testing capability and scale and premier discovery technologies – are expected to increase current genetic gain. Monsanto may expand its relationship with NRGene into a longer-term commitment following an in-depth evaluation of the technology. The GenoMAGIC platform extends Monsanto's capabilities for genome selection, trait discovery, and genome enhancement.

Monsanto Company Awards $500,000 Grant to T-REX to Support New Resource Center for Geospatial Innovation

Currently more than 200 small companies and start-ups are housed at T-REX, which is also located about two miles away from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency construction site.

REUTERS

Originally Published by Monsanto.

In its continued support of geospatial innovation, Monsanto Company has awarded a $500,000 grant to T-REX, a St. Louis based non-profit business and technology incubator to support the creation of a new Geospatial Resource and Innovation Center.

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Monsanto and 2Blades Foundation Collaborate to Combat Devastating Soybean Disease


"Collaboration with industry is vital to ensure that new discoveries made in the lab can lead to innovations that will prevent crop losses caused by plant disease," said Dr. Peter van Esse, leader of the 2Blades Research Group at TSL.

REUTERS

Originally Published by Monsanto.

Monsanto Company and charitable organization 2Blades Foundation (2Blades) have formed a new collaboration to discover novel sources of genetic resistance to Asian soybean rust (ASR). 2Blades will deliver resistance genes in further collaboration with The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL, Norwich, UK), the leading global institute for research on plant-pathogen interactions, and the Universidade Federal de Viçosa (UFV), a leading university in agricultural sciences in Brazil.

Asian soybean rust, a disease caused by the fungus Phakopsora pachyrhizi, results in yellowing and browning of soybean leaves and can lead to premature senesence and significant yield loss. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), P. pachyrhizi has spread rapidly and causes yield losses from 10 to 80% in Argentina, Asia, Brazil, Paraguay, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.1

"Asian soybean rust is an ugly and expensive disease that can devastate farmers' harvests," said Jeremy Williams, Monsanto's biotechnology and ag productivity innovation lead. "Current fungicide treatments can provide some control, but farmers need more tools – and the 2Blades research could help provide a durable solution as part of an integrated pest-management system."

2Blades' mission is to contribute to global food security by developing crops with long-lasting resistance to pathogens in order to reduce losses due to disease. By working with world-leading plant scientists, 2Blades seeks to discover new sources of disease resistance in nature and transfer them into important crops to extend the breadth of their immune system and secure yields.

"Collaboration with industry is vital to ensure that new discoveries made in the lab can lead to innovations that will prevent crop losses caused by plant disease," said Dr. Peter van Esse, leader of the 2Blades Research Group at TSL. "It is therefore exciting to see that our scientific expertise and knowledge on plant-microbe interactions will be combined with Monsanto's capacity to deliver solutions to farmers to tackle a key challenge in soybean cultivation."

"The management of soybean rust requires the integration of different approaches, including disease resistance. This collaboration will allow us to use cutting-edge technologies to speed up the identification of new resistance genes that can be used to deliver more sustainable solutions to soybean farmers, reducing the environmental and economic impact of ASR," said Prof. Sérgio H. Brommonschenkel at UFV.

In January 2017, Monsanto, 2Blades and The Sainsbury Laboratory announced a collaboration focused on tackling corn disease complexes such as stalk and ear rots that have the potential to significantly reduce yield. That research is ongoing and is independent of this new collaboration.

The ASR collaboration complements Monsanto's work to expand the global crop protection toolbox while enabling farmers to produce more with less of an impact on the environment. 2Blades retains rights to deploy new leads arising from the program in crops for smallholder farmers in the least developed countries, with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Soybean is a crop of significant and increasing importance in Africa, with extraordinary nutritional, soil, and economic benefits. However, the presence of ASR throughout the African continent is a major factor limiting production.

Monsanto: Mark Edge on WEMA, the Fall Armyworm and farmers in Africa

Mark Edge, Director of Collaborations for Developing Countries at Monsanto, talks about WEMA, the initiative that uses Bt maize to eradicate a harmful pest and help smallholder farmers in Africa.

REUTERS

By Mark Edge

Originally Published by Monsanto.

My work at Monsanto over the years has offered me many new challenges – lately I'm working with a team on the complex issue of helping smallholder farmers in Africa get better seed to help them manage the threats to their maize crops.

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Monsanto Company Chairman, Chief Executive Officer Hugh Grant Announces Intent to Leave Monsanto Upon Closing of Bayer Acquisition

Over his 35-year tenure with the company, he has worked for Monsanto on three continents, managing key elements of the global business and helping to diversify the company's products and solutions for growers.

REUTERS

Monsanto Company Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Hugh Grant announced today his intent to leave Monsanto at the closing of the acquisition of Monsanto by Bayer AG. Grant will maintain his position as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer until closing, continuing to focus on leading the company on its top objectives of securing deal approval and delivering on its underlying business priorities. Bayer continues to target closing in the second calendar quarter of 2018.

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