Dow, Syngenta to Cross-License Crop Tech

Herculex, Agrisure technologies to be marketed by each company.

Published on: Apr 1, 2009

In the seed business, the technology package you can bring to market is important. This week Syngenta and Dow AgroScience are teaming up to enhance what each company will be selling in the future. The companies have announced a cross-license agreement that'll have the Herculex tech from Dow and the Agrisure traits from Syngenta available to both companies' branded seed businesses.

Under the terms of the agreement, Syngenta will receive global non-exclusive licenses, with stacking rights, to Dow AgroSciences’ Herculex I Insect Protection for broad lepidopteran control and to Herculex RW for corn rootworm control. Under the same agreement, Dow AgroSciences will receive global non-exclusive licenses with stacking rights to the Syngenta Agrisure GT event for glyphosate tolerance, and to its insect control events Agrisure CB/LL for corn borer and Agrisure RW for corn rootworm. The licenses also include access to the Syngenta Agrisure Viptera event for broad lepidoptera and to a next-generation event for corn rootworm control.

For Syngenta, the agreement means the ability to offer hybrids featuring multiple modes of action on lepidopteran corn pests including European corn borer, corn earworm, Western bean cutworm, black cutworm and others. Pending regulatory and key import market approvals, Syngenta anticipates hybrids containing both technologies will be available for spring 2011 planting.

A growing movement in the seed industry is to stack traits as a way of reducing the required refuge at planting. Each major player is taking its own approach to that challenge in an effort to reduce your need to have refuge acres out there to defeat potential resistance issues. In the announcement of the new agreement, pending approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Syngenta and Dow see this agreement paving the way for what could be the industry's first reduced-refuge stack in Midwestern corn featuring a combination of functionally and structurally different proteins - Cry proteins (Agrisure CB/LL, Herculex I) and Vip protein (Agrisure Viptera - a new type of insect control event).

EPA is open to the reduced refuge idea when multiple modes of action are offered. Recently the agency approved a nationwide 20% refuge for hybrid stacks containing the Agrisure Viptera event and either Agrisure 3000GT triple-stack or Agrisure GT/CB/LL stack. That's a big drop from the 50% refuge requirement in cotton-growing regions.