NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Agriculture products giant Monsanto and Israeli ag-biotech company Evogene announced today that they have entered into a five-year research and development collaboration.
In the collaboration, Evogene will use its computer-based, predictive biology tools to pinpoint new candidate genes involved in plant yield, environmental stress, and fertilizer use. These genes will be tested and validated in model plants by Monsanto.
Under the terms of the agreement, Monsanto will have exclusive licensing rights to the newly identified genes in several crop plants, including corn, soybeans, canola, and cotton. It plans to evaluate licensed genes in its R&D pipeline and commercialize viable candidates through its branded and licensed businesses. The project is intended to move Monsanto closer to its goal of doubling its core crop yields by 2030.
For its part, Evogene is expected to receive roughly $35 million over the five-year collaboration through a combination of upfront payments and annual research payments. In addition, the company will be entitled to development milestone and royalty payments on products resulting from the collaboration.
Evogene and Monsanto have a history of research collaborations. Last September, they announced that they would collaborate on research meant to improve nitrogen use by corn, soybeans, canola, and cotton. Monsanto has also invested $18 million in Evogene and plans to purchase another $12 million stake in the company contingent on Evogene meeting specific “diligence requirements.”