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Monsanto Licenses Cellectis Technology for Genome Modifications

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The bio-agricultural company Monsanto will use Cellectis' meganuclease genomic engineering technology under a new license agreement, Cellectis said today.

The Cellectis technology involves using "molecular scissors" that can locate a single site in the genome of a plant cell, allowing a range of precise genome modifications, such as gene stacking, gene knock-out, and modulation of gene function.

Under the agreement, Monsanto will give Cellectis an up front payment of €3 million ($4.3 million), and it will make an equity investment of €1 million that Cellectis will use to scale its technology for use in agriculture. Cellectis also will be eligible to receive milestone fees for the development of each meganuclease.

"Being able to make precise genome modifications could enable us to advance projects even more rapidly through our R&D pipeline," Monsanto Chief Technology Officer Robert Fraley said in a statement. "This technology has the potential to accelerate delivery of our ever expanding trait pipeline to farmers in the form of value-added, multi-trait products."

Cellectis CEO Andre Choulika said that the Monsanto agreement "could allow our meganuclease-based genome engineering technology to be put to use in developing the next generation of quality crops."