Evogene and TMG Announce Collaboration to Develop Nematode Resistant Soybean through Genome Editing
Rehovot, Israel & Cambé, Brazil– Evogene Ltd. (NASDAQ, TASE: EVGN), a leading biotechnology company developing novel products for life science markets & TMG – Tropical Melhoramento & Genética S/A, a leading plant breeding company aiming to develop genetic solutions to delivery yield and profit to growers and collaborate to meet the world demand for grains and fibers; announced today a collaboration for the development of non-GMO nematode resistant soybean utilizing genome editing technologies on TMG’s commercial soybean lines.
Pursuant to the collaboration, Evogene will utilize its CPB (Computational Predictive Biology) platform to identify the required genome edits to attribute nematode resistance in soybean and will perform such edits on TMG’s proprietary commercial soybean germplasm. TMG will validate the efficacy of the edited soybeans in greenhouse assays and in field trials in Brazil and will incorporate the edited genes in TMG breeding pipeline. TMG is one of the largest soybean breeding companies in Brazil, with its proprietary germplasm planted across four million hectares throughout South America.
The agreement provides commercialization rights for the resulting products by both parties, subject to royalty payments made by each to the other party on its product sales. In addition, Evogene will receive an undisclosed down-payment and will be entitled to a development milestone payment.
Plant parasite nematode is one of the most devastating and yield reducing pests affecting agriculture today, accounting for almost $100 billion in crop damages annually. The soil borne parasite is widely prevalent in soybean, attacking the roots of developing soybean plants and resulting in yield losses of between 30 and 50 percent in heavily infected fields. The impact to U.S. soybean growers alone has been estimated to reach $1.3 billion annually.
Dr. Arnon Heyman, Evogene VP and GM, Ag-Seeds stated: “I am very pleased with the initiation of this collaboration with TMG, a leading breeding company in South America, to develop nematode resistant soy, utilizing the latest technologies available. This collaboration may allow us to bring to market non-GMO seed traits in soy, utilizing genome editing, and potentially avoiding regulatory hurdles. Moreover, this is the first time that Evogene will be able to commercialize edited seeds independently, allowing us to approach relevant parties after a successful validation process. We look forward to updating you as this new collaboration develops”.
Dr. Alexandre Garcia, TMG Research Manager, said: “This new collaboration will revolutionize the market for nematode resistance in soybeans. Evogene has long expertise and state of the art technology for trait discovery and now is expanding its genome edit platform. TMG is committed to use non-GMO approaches to improve resistance to pests and diseases and is the leading company in the development of soybean cultivars with native genetic resistance to multiple races of Soybean Cyst Nematode. The opportunity to combine what Evogene and TMG do best is very promising and is expected to bring excellent results to soybean growers around the world.”
About Genome Editing:
Genome editing technologies present a key scientific tool that can deliver breakthroughs in agriculture by making precisely targeted modifications in a cell’s DNA. Currently, the regulatory requirements of genome editing are more lenient in comparison to transgenic modification, which could ease access to market.