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Evogene, DuPont Expand Deal Aimed at Soybean Disease Resistance

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Evogene today announced that it and DuPont Pioneer have extended and expanded their multiyear research collaboration aimed at developing varieties of soybean resistant to Asian Soybean Rust, or ASR.

As part of the expanded deal, novel genes identified by Evogene will be evaluated and validated by DuPont Pioneer, the seed business of DuPont, as possible candidates for further development and commercialization. Evogene's Gene2Product computational platform will be added to the gene discovery program, as well.

The platform provides gene optimization by using advanced gene stacking and regulation prediction and is designed to improve the efficacy and probability of success of the resulting seed products, Evogene, which filed in September to go public in the US, said.

The extension is for one year. Further details were not disclosed.

Evogene and DuPont Pioneer originally inked their deal in 2011 aimed at ASR, a major disease that affects crops, primarily in North and South America, which are major soybean growing regions.

"Our Gene2Product(TM) platform is a key component of our predictive capabilities aimed at utilizing improved gene efficacy to reduce development timeframes and promote the probability of success of end products," Evogene President and CEO Ofer Haviv said in a statement. "Under the joint DuPont Pioneer/Evogene ASR program to date, significant progress has been made and an excellent collaborative relationship established."

He added," I believe the field of acute biotic stresses holds a significant opportunity for Evogene. This opportunity will be derived from expanding our existing programs, as well as focusing on new biotic stresses that are not currently part of our discovery portfolio."