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Vilmorin & Cie and KWS intensify their collaboration in the development of GM traits for corn seedqrcode

Jul. 1, 2013

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Jul. 1, 2013
Vilmorin & Cie and KWS SAAT AG have just obtained authorization from the European Commission for their 50/50 joint venture Genective. In 2011 the two partners had decided to combine efforts to develop GM traits for corn seed. This authorization is a key step enabling the two companies to intensify this research collaboration, with the first traits expected to be available for purchase in the United States within three years at the earliest.

In a fast growing worldwide GM corn market, Vilmorin & Cie and KWS founded Genective in order to focus their efforts on first generation traits (herbicide tolerance and insect resistance). These traits will enable each of the two partners to market globally genetically modified corn seeds that include their own technologies, and thus meet the specific demands of agricultural markets for diversification of sources of transgenic traits.

“The market for transgenic plants, which continues to grow, involved 170 million hectares throughout the world in 2012, including 55 million hectares of corn. Genective will be a complement to the GM traits obtained under license from major technology suppliers, and will also enable us to make our traits available to other companies, which may also involve combinations with other technologies available on the market”, declared Philip von dem Bussche, CEO of KWS.

“This authorization from the European Commission confirms our strategy of pooling innovation efforts in GM corn traits, enabling us to share this financial investment, while accelerating and extending our development programs.Ultimately, the objective is to develop so-called second-generation traits for the world market, improving yield, integrating greater tolerance to drought and better use of nitrogen-based fertilizers. In this way we intend to offer further solutions to our farmer clients, in order to permanently satisfy their evolving technical requirements,” explained Emmanuel Rougier, CEO of Vilmorin & Cie.

This research is being conducted on the sites of Vilmorin & Cie, KWS and other partner companies. Field trials have been conclusive and procedures for official approval are in progress for different target markets. The first products could therefore be launched on markets open to GMOs within three years at the earliest. They will initially concern herbicide tolerance traits, and then, at a later stage, insect resistance traits.

KWS and Vilmorin & Cie have been working closely together with great success since 2000 in AgReliant, a 50/50 joint venture for the breeding, production and marketing of corn seed. Today AgReliant is the 3rd largest operator on the North American market for corn seed.

KWS is one of the world's leading plant breeding companies. More than 4.400 employees in 70 countries generate in the fiscal 2012/13 expected net sales of over €1 Billion. Main areas of its work are the breeding of varieties and the production and sale of seed for sugar beet, corn, cereals, potatoes, oil-seed rape and sunflower. 15 % of its annual sales is invested in research and development. KWS uses state-of-the-art plant breeding methods and technologies to continuously improve variety yields and resistance to diseases, pests and abiotic stress.

As the world’s fourth largest seed company, Vilmorin & Cie develops vegetable and field seeds with high added value, to better meet global food requirements. True to its vision of sustainable development, Vilmorin & Cie relies on ongoing investments in research and international growth to strengthen its market shares - an ambition that is driven by its corporate culture which is based on the sharing of knowledge, quality of life, and respect for the needs of mankind.

Source: KWS

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