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Cibus receive EU patent for herbicide-resistant plantsqrcode

Mar. 3, 2010

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Mar. 3, 2010


Cibus Global, San Diego, CA, a pioneering crop trait development firm, announced the grant of a new patent from the European Patent Office. The European patent (EP 1 223 799 B1) has been granted for Cibus unique Rapid Trait Development System (RTDS) in the production of a non-transgenic plant that is resistant to or tolerant of herbicides of the phosphonomethylglycine family, particularly glyphosate , a systemic herbicide widely used to control weeds without harming crops or the environment.

"Glyphosate herbicide-tolerant crops are prevalent in North America, with farmers benefiting from their cost savings and environmental advantages; until now, farmers in Europe have been unable to reap these benefits because the only glyphosate herbicide-tolerant crops were GM-developed using transgenic technologies," said Dr. Peter Beetham, Senior Vice President of Research for Cibus, and an inventor on the patent. "Cibus RTDS offers farmers the ability to better control weeds by introducing glyphosate tolerant crops made using the plants natural processes and without the introduction of foreign genetic material. This gives producers a new non-GM alternative that will enable them to maximize yields from key crops."

Glyphosate herbicide-tolerant crop usage would provide significant production cost savings to European farmers. Since glyphosate herbicide-tolerance reduces the need for tillage, soil erosion is diminished and the amount of herbicide applied to the soil for weed control is decreased. In North America, glyphosate tolerant weed control systems have been adopted broadly. North American farmers plant 95% of the total soybean hectares, 87% of corn hectares, 91% of cotton hectares and 51% of canola hectares with glyphosate-tolerant GM crops. The projected annual aggregate trait value for non-GM herbicide tolerant crops in Europe for Cibus targeted crops is roughly 1.4 billion Euros.

"This patent marks a significant milestone for Cibus and the European farming community," says Stephen Evans Freke, Chairman of the Board for Cibus Global, which in September 2009 signed a strategic development alliance with Makhteshim-Agan, one of the largest distributors of crop protection products in Europe. "We and our European partners believe European farmers will increasingly demand non-GM glyphosate tolerant crops, and that Cibus-developed products will become the standard-bearer for crops that meet this demand and are accepted as such by farmers and consumers."

Recognized as a mutagenesis breeding methodology by both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and an EU regulatory and science biosafety group led by Dr. Didier Breyer, RTDS is an environmentally safe trait development procedure that uses a plants natural process of gene repair to effect a precise change in the genetic sequence, thus avoiding the introduction of foreign genetic material into the crop. The 2001 European Union Directive on GMOs exempts mutagenesis-derived crops from the Directive under Article 3, Annex 1B, and a wide range of food crops currently cultivated in Europe were developed using mutagenesis techniques. Globally, mutagenesis-derived crops are ubiquitous in a number of food categories, including grains, vegetable oils, beer ingredients and seedless fruits.

The implications of RTDS are profound and far reaching. Cibus technology promises a host of environmentally-friendly solutions to the daunting problems facing agriculture. RTDS represents nothing less than an alternative platform to transgenics. The technology can be used, for instance, to improve yields in drought-afflicted or otherwise degraded lands, and it can provide these benefits with no more risk than traditional plant breeding.

About Cibus Global

Cibus Global (www.cibus.com) develops advantageous crop traits with far-reaching implications in agriculture, alternative energy and product development. Through its proprietary Rapid Trait Development System (RTDSTM), Cibus creates traits in a directed way with more precision than traditional breeding techniques and without the introduction of foreign genetic material. RTDS has proven itself in the laboratory with several different applications, as well as in initial field trials of Cibus first commercial crop, canola. Cibus products will be brought to market through a number of strategic partnerships; in September 2009, Cibus announced an alliance with Israeli-based Makhteshim-Agan to develop proprietary traits in five crops with a European focus.

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