Saturday, November 8, 2008

American Monsanto Collaborates with Israeli Evogene on Plant Yield and Environmental Stress Research

American Monsanto Company and Israeli Evogene Ltd. have entered a five-year research and development collaboration to identify key plant genes related to yield, environmental stress and fertilizer utilization. The agreement is intended to enhance research efforts to discover and deliver novel yield-enhancing technologies at a time of increasing global demand for grain.

Under this collaboration, Evogene will provide Monsanto with candidate genes discovered by its computational platform that are predicted to improve yield, fertilizer utilization and a plant’s reaction to environmental stress.

This collaboration follows an announcement that took place in 2007, concerning collaboration between the two companies to improve nitrogen use efficiency in corn, soybeans, canola and cotton.

In a separate agreement, Monsanto has purchased an $18 million (USD) equity stake in Evogene and has agreed to purchase an additional $12 million in the future, subject to certain Evogene diligence requirements.

In addition to Evogene's contracts with American Monsanto and Orfuel, the company has just announced, together with Leviev Group and Orfuel, the establishment of a biodiesel company in Namibia, Africa. The new company will focus on the growth of specialized castor plants for use as feedstock for biodiesel.
About a year back, Evogene and Orfuel Inc, a US subsidiary of Ormat Industries Ltd, started their own collaboration in the field of alternative energy and biofuels, aimed at providing substantially improved feedstock sources for biodiesel production.

More about Evogene

Evogene is a leading developer of improved plants for the ag-biotech and biofuel industries. The company’s proprietary product development platform combines state of the art computational gene discovery technologies, plant and field validation capabilities and unique selection systems. The platform’s computational biology component - the ATHLETE - is based on Compugen's in-silico predictive discovery capabilities. Evogene's current programs focus on yield under normal and various environmental stress conditions (such as drought), fertilizer utilization and the improvement of plants specifically for biofuel uses.

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