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Monsanto, Evogene Extend Plant Gene R&D Pact

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Monsanto and Evogene today said they are extending a five-year agreement aimed at identifying plant genes related to yield, environmental stress, and fertilizer utilization in corn, soybean, cotton, and canola.

The deal, originally forged in 2008, has been extended an additional year to 2014. Evogene's Gene2Product computational technologies will also be included as part of the partnership under the extension, in addition to Evogene's Athlete computational technology that was part of the 2008 agreement.

The additional technology, Monsanto and Evogene said, offers an extra approach "for enhancing trait efficacy and the development of candidate genes identified under the collaboration."

Evogene will continue providing Monsanto candidate genes discovered with Evogene technologies that may be predictive of plant yield, fertilizer utilization, and reaction to environmental stress. Monsanto receives exclusive rights to license candidate genes from Evogene for use in corn, soybean, canola, and cotton.

As part of the incorporation of its Gene2Product technology into the agreement extension, Evogene will receive additional research payments of an undisclosed amount. Monsanto will commercialize successful candidate genes resulting from the collaboration, while Evogene is entitled to development milestone payments and royalties.

The 2008 deal called for Monsanto to invest $12 million into Evogene based on certain requirements being met by Evogene. That arrangement remains in place under a new put option exercisable at $12 per share at a later date, the firms said today.