Bayer CropScience AG, Mertec LLC and M.S. Technologies LLC announced today that they have entered into a longterm collaboration agreement to jointly develop and commercialize several innovative trait technology products in soybeans. These products are destined for the U.S. market with the opportunity to expand to other soybean growing countries.
Under this agreement Bayer CropScience and M.S. Technologies will combine proprietary technologies and will make them available for insertion into high-yielding elite germplasm contributed by Mertec LLC. The agreement allows for resulting traits and products to be broadly licensed to the seed industry. BayerCropScience will undertake to obtain the necessary global authorizations for the soybean traits developed under the collaboration agreement and to obtain approvals for the associated herbicide use. Financial details of the agreement are not disclosed.
One of the first products expected from the collaboration will be soybean varieties with tolerance to both glyphosate and to HPPD inhibitors, a class of herbicides that include Bayer’s Balance® Pro brand isoxaflutole, currently used in corn in the United States. The combination of HPPD inhibitors tolerance plus glyphosate tolerance will offer growers flexibility in their herbicide choices, with the herbicide combination offering the potential for one pass weed control as well as effective weed resistance management.
These products are expected to be followed by other multi-trait combinations, including a triple herbicide tolerant stack with LibertyLink®, thus further broadening choices for farmers.
"We are very pleased that together with these strong partners Mertec and M.S. Technologies, we can offer both traits and new herbicide options, giving growers a host of new weed control options for their soybean crops” said Friedrich Berschauer, CEO of Bayer CropScience. “We consider this a further step in our strategy to maximise the value of our innovative biotech traits coming out of our extensive research pipeline and to strengthen our position in the U.S soybean market.”
“We are excited by the potential benefits this collaboration with Bayer CropScience offers to growers and the industry,” said Harry H. Stine, a Director of M.S. Technologies. “As a result of this collaboration, soybean growers will have better solutions to optimize productivity and maximize per acre profits. We are pleased to be working with Bayer, whose knowledge of herbicide technology and worldwide regulatory expertise will help us bring these novel products to market.”
The collaboration builds on the existing relationship between Bayer CropScience and MS Technologies, a key partner in the development of Bayer CropScience’s LibertyLink herbicide tolerant trait in soybeans. As a result of this already existing cooperation, LibertyLink soybeans are planned to be be introduced to the market in 2009. LibertyLink will be the only alternative non-selective herbicide tolerant system enabling growers to maintain current production practices but rotate weed management systems in order to avoid weed resistance.
About Bayer CropScience
The Bayer Group is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, nutrition and high-tech materials. Bayer CropScience AG, a subsidiary of Bayer AG with annual sales of about EUR 5.7 billion (2006), is one of the world’s leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of crop protection, non-agricultural pest control, seeds and plant biotechnology. The company offers an outstanding range of products and extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture and for non-agricultural applications. Bayer CropScience has a global workforce of about 17,900 and is represented in more than 120 countries. This and further news are available at: www.newsroom.bayercropscience.com.
About Mertec LLC
Mertec LLC, based in West Point, Iowa, is a leading breeder and developer of soybean germplasm for the seed trade. Mertec has an extensive line-up of soybean germplasm for the maturities in the United States. Mertec has entered into strategic relationships with biotech and life science companies to deliver the latest traits and technologies to farmer growers in Mertec's high yielding soybean germplasm.
About M.S. Technologies
M.S. Technologies LLC is a leading trait and technology provider. M.S. Technologies LLC features a portfolio of in-house traits, as well as wide access to other traits and technologies through collaborative agreements with other parties.
Bayer CropScience AG, Monheim, Germany
Annette Josten, Tel.: +49 2173 38-5788
Bayer CropScience LP, Research Triangle Park, USA
Greg Coffey, Tel.: 001 919/549-2404,
This news release contains forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer CropScience AG management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future consolidated results, financial situation, development or performance of the Bayer CropScience AG or our parent company, Bayer AG, and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer AG's public reports filed with the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (including Bayer AG's Form 20-F). Neither Bayer AG nor Bayer CropScience AG assumes any liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.