Syngenta Seeds and DuPont subsidiary Pioneer Hi-Bred International will form the seed industrys first 50-50 joint venture to out-license genetics to US and Canadian seed companies, with potential to expand worldwide, the company announced this week.
The joint venture, GreenLeaf Genetics, will offer corn and soybean breeding material from both DuPont and Syngenta. It will also facilitate the licensing of biotech traits by both companies.
"This is outstanding news for growers and the seed industry because it will make available a new and unique pool of corn and soybean traits and genetics from both companies research efforts. As a result, North American growers will have access to broader product choices and technologies," said Mike Mack, chief operating officer of Syngenta Seeds.
The two companies have agreed to cross-license certain corn and soybean traits that each company will market independently under their own seed brands.
The agreement includes rights for Syngenta to market the new Optimum GAT herbicide tolerant trait developed by DuPont. DuPont will also receive a global license to Syngentas insect resistance technology for European corn borer, corn rootworm and broad lepidopteran control.
"The joint venture and the licensing agreements bring together the strength of two industry leaders to deliver new technologies to the market more quickly," said Dean Oestreich, DuPont vice president, general manager and Pioneer president.
Syngenta originally launched GreenLeaf Genetics as a traits and genetics licensing business in 2004, but now DuPont will also provide other seed companies targeted access to the plant genetics library at Pioneer, said Syngetna.
GreenLeaf Genetics will be based in Omaha, Nebraska.
This is the second business agreement announced this year between Syngenta and DuPont agriculture businesses. In February, the two companies announced an agreement to broaden each companys crop protection product offer.
The recent move comes as the same time as another announcement by the Swiss firm that it is to launch a $100m venture fund in the US, which will include investment in crop biotechnology.
Syngenta today announced that its venture fund, LSP BioVentures, is to be based in Boston and managed by Life Sciences Partners (LSP), a biotech venture capital firm.
The company said funds will be invested over a three to five year period as appropriate opportunities arise.
"This fund will invest in growth companies and technology start-up opportunities. The investment scope of the Fund is crop biotechnology, crop protection, professional products and new growth areas such as biomaterials and biofuels. Along with sound financial returns, we aim to secure early cooperation with emerging innovators in our sector," said head of business development at Syngenta David Jones.