Dow AgroSciences LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company, and Sangamo BioSciences, Inc. Richmond, Calif. has announced the signing of a Research and Commercial License Agreement. The agreement provides Dow with access to Sangamo's proprietary zinc finger DNA-binding protein (ZFP) technology. The technology is for use in plants and plant cell cultures to develop products, on an exclusive basis, for plant agriculture and industrial products, and, on a non-exclusive basis, animal health and biopharmaceutical products produced in plants.
"Dow AgroSciences has a strong tradition of innovation and early adoption of new technologies. We pride ourselves on operating at the cutting edge of plant biotechnology," says Dan Kittle, vice president, Research and Development for Dow AgroSciences. "We believe that access to Sangamo's ZFP technology will ensure an early and sustainable competitive advantage for our business. We also look forward to working with the public research sector and other companies to fully develop and apply this technology to plant crop improvement."
"Dow AgroSciences is recognized as a world leader in innovative plant biotechnology," says Edward Lanphier, Sangamo's president and CEO. "In Dow AgroSciences, we have a partner that shares our vision and is capable of fully exploiting the applications of ZFP transcription factors (ZFP TFs) and ZFP nucleases (ZFNs) in plants."
The ability to selectively control specific genes is emerging as a critical tool in modern biotechnology. By engineering ZFPs that recognize a specific DNA sequence Sangamo scientists have created ZFP TFs that can control gene expression and consequently, cell function. For example, Sangamo has demonstrated that plant oils can be improved using ZFP TFs.
According to a 2004 International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications report, transgenic traits were planted on an estimated 200 million acres, or 29% of the global acres for soybean, cotton, maize, and canola. Phillips McDougall, international crop protection and agricultural biotechnology consultants, estimates the value of agricultural biotechnology in these crops for 2004 to be $4.7 billion. Both the acreage and the value of agricultural biotechnology are expected to grow.