GreenLight Biosciences and Germains Seed Technology, an industry leader in seed treatment technologies, recently announced a research partnership agreement that could lead to the first commercial use of RNA as a seed treatment to control crop diseases and offer options to farmers looking for innovative solutions.
Through the partnership, the two companies will explore synergies between Germains' seed priming and coating technologies and GreenLight's dsRNA expertise and ability to cost-effectively scale manufacturing to protect vegetable crops. In October 2021, GreenLight announced that the company had achieved, for the first time ever, effective field control of fungal pathogens using double-stranded RNA.
"Farmers and agribusinesses are looking for effective, affordable and sustainable alternatives to traditional crop protection, particularly as environmental and market pressures to do so continue to increase," said Mark Singleton, GreenLight's Senior Vice President of Technology & External Innovation.
"We're excited to work with the leading seed treatment experts at Germains to develop potential additional applications for RNA to address those challenges," he said. "Our ability to produce large-scale commercial quantities of RNA at low cost and with high quality in our Rochester, New York, facility means we are well-positioned to quickly commercialize and scale new products in our pipeline."
"Germains Seed Technology has been a leader in the international seed industry for 150 years, and our strength as a company is rooted in our commitment to innovation as we seek to maximize nature's potential and meet customers' needs," said Dale Krolikowski, Germains' Head of Business Development and Research.
"We believe this new partnership with GreenLight Biosciences has the potential to build a new generation of products that do just that. RNA technology presents enormous potential for the seed treatment industry, and we are thrilled to be working with the innovators at GreenLight to push the industry forward."
GreenLight's technology complements Germains' Health brand, which has delivered several novel seed treatments over the last few years, including Ultim®-ST organic protection against Pythium. The partnership will allow Germains to provide further innovation to customers as the company works to address seed-borne and soil-borne pathogens, which continue to cause dramatic crop losses every year.
The fast-growing seed treatment market is valued at approximately $6.5 billion, with an estimated growth rate between 10 and 12 percent annually. If successful, this partnership would mark a key addition to GreenLight's portfolio and intended pipeline of agricultural products, as well as a critical addition to Germains' offerings of innovative seed treatments and grower solutions.
In 2022, GreenLight anticipates receiving U.S. regulatory approval of its RNA-based product for controlling the Colorado potato beetle and intends to submit its honeybee health solution to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The company has seven agricultural products in development with an addressable market of $6 billion that it plans to launch by 2026.