Companies Ink Trait Licensing Agreement

Syngenta is granting Pioneer access to the new MIR 604 trait for corn seed. And Syngenta adds soybean offering to genetics business.

Published on: Dec 14, 2010

Syngenta and DuPont announced an agreement today to grand Pioneer Hi-Bred, a non-exclusive, global license to the corn rootworm trait MIR604 (Agrisure) for corn. The trait provides protection from below-ground coleopteran insects including corn rootworm.

The license, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2011, gives Pioneer full stacking rights for MIR604 with other traits. The value of the deal could exceed $400 million in cumulative payments, according to a joint press release. Detailed financial terms were not disclosed.

In a statement, Davor Pisk, chief operating officer, Syngenta Seeds comments that the agreement is "further affirmation of Syngenta's biotechnology capability. The creationg of value through trait outlicensing, as well as through the incorporationg the ...proprietary technology in our own branded ffer, will contribute to growing profitability of our Seeds business."

Paul Schickler, Pioneer president, adds that the trait provides the company added options for customers. "Pioneer is creating unique trait combinations to offer next generation insect protection products. The new products will deliver growers additional choice in the Optimum AcreMax family of products.

Broadening a licensing businesses

Late last week, Syngenta Seeds announced it would out-license its soybean germplasm to independent seed companies through Greenleaf Genetics LLC. Greenleaf, originally a partnership with Pioneer, was recently taken over completely by Syngenta Seeds.

Adding soybean genetics to the Greenleaf offering would make the company's genetic pipeline more widely available to growers. The varieties initially offered will combine elite Syngenta soybean genetics with the Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield trait. Independent seed companies will be able to plant these initial varieties for testing and production in 2011. Companies will be required to have a Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield license from Monsanto.

David Morgan, president Syngenta Seeds, says the company's soybean germplasm has been a recognized market leader and that through Greenleaf Syngenta "will make these soybean genetics more widely available, provide another choice for growers...and expand grower access to our elite varieties in combination with a convenience trait they value.

In November 2010, Syngenta assumed full ownership of GreenLeaf Genetics upon dissolution of a joint venture between Syngenta Seeds, Inc. and DuPont business Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. This announcement show how Syngenta will broadent Greenleaf's portfolio of germplasm and traits made available to independent seed companies, notes Todd Martin, head of Independent Seed Business, Syngenta Seeds.