Company advances two projects to final phase before commercialization, marks progress with yield and stress pipeline
Several projects across platforms and crops designed to improve farmers' on-farm productivity and profitability advanced phases today as part of Monsanto Company's (NYSE: MON) annual pipeline update.
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The company highlighted, in particular, key projects in its yield and stress pipeline collaboration with Germany-based BASF Plant Science, which last year was expanded to include wheat. Yield and stress projects advancing phases this year include Nitrogen-Utilization Corn, Second-Generation Higher-Yielding Soybeans and Higher-Yielding/Stress Tolerant Wheat.
Following last year's record-breaking 11 project advancements, this year's nine advances are testament to the depth of the company's research and development (R&D) pipeline. Additionally, four of the advancements are new projects that were added to the pipeline, demonstrating that discovery work brings new opportunities.
"Our competitive R&D advantage comes because we identify needs in the marketplace and turn research into great products for farmers, and that allows us to create value," said Robb Fraley, Monsanto chief technology officer. "We continue to invest in significant crop opportunities with a balanced approach in our breeding and biotech platforms. This approach puts us in the best position to extend our leadership and continue to deliver commercial products that benefit our farmer customers."
Using a combination of the latest breeding and biotechnology tools and techniques and the company's elite global germplasm base, Monsanto researchers are steadfast in their efforts to develop and deliver products that can help farmers produce more on each acre.
The following products advance phases in 2011.
Yield and Stress Projects � in Collaboration with BASF
Monsanto and BASF Plant Science announced key project advancements demonstrating the success of the yield and stress collaboration.
* Nitrogen-Utilization Corn (Advanced to Phase 2)
� Nitrogen-Utilization Corn targets ways corn plants can use nitrogen more efficiently, exploring the potential to boost yield under normal nitrogen conditions or to stabilize yield in low nitrogen environments.
* Second-Generation Higher-Yielding Soybeans (Advanced to Phase 2) � When stacked with the first-generation soybean yield product and the higher yield opportunity of Genuity� Roundup Ready 2 Yield�, this product is designed to deliver improved yield compared with first-generation higher-yielding soybean varieties.
* Higher-Yielding/Stress Tolerant Wheat (in collaboration with BASF) and Herbicide-Tolerant Wheat (Both advanced to Phase 1) � Wheat has historically seen a lack of investment in technology compared to other crops. Since acquiring the WestBred� brand in 2009, Monsanto has been committed to enhancing the productivity, sustainability and profitability of wheat by improving yield and grain quality. Wheat yield and stress technology, which would be stacked with herbicide-tolerance traits to offer multiple modes of weed control, would offer growers better yield potential under average stress growing conditions.
The Monsanto and BASF Plant Science collaboration was initiated in 2007 to jointly develop traits to improve farm productivity and profitability in corn, soybeans, cotton and canola. The collaboration was expanded in 2010 to include wheat.
"The advances in development show that we chose the right path in our partnership with Monsanto," said Peter Eckes, President of BASF Plant Science. "BASF is confident that our genes will result in crops that produce significantly better yields and that we will be able to make these available to farmers in the future."
Agronomic Traits Projects
* Roundup� Hybridization System (Advanced to Phase 4) � The Roundup� Hybridization System (RHS) is designed to replace detasseling in hybrid seed corn production, thus reducing seed manufacturing costs.
* Roundup� Hybridization System II (Advanced to Phase 1) � The second-generation Roundup� Hybridization System II (RHS II) is designed to replace detasseling in hybrid seed corn production and increase seed yield in production, further reducing the cost of goods.
* Dicamba-Tolerant Soybeans (Advanced to Phase 4) � The addition of dicamba-tolerance to the Genuity� Roundup Ready 2 Yield� soybean platform would enable the use of dicamba and glyphosate for pre-plant burndown and in-season weed control, resulting in an effective and high yielding weed management system.
* Second-Generation Insect Protected Soybeans (Advanced to Phase 2) � This pipeline product is the second generation of insect-protected soybeans using Bt technology widely adopted in corn and cotton to control economically significant insect pests in Brazil. This product would broaden the spectrum of insect control and durability of the trait compared to the first-generation product.
* Dicamba-Tolerant Canola (Advanced to Phase 1) � Dicamba-tolerance, when stacked with Roundup Ready� technology, is designed to add an additional herbicide mode of action, which would enhance the flexibility for weed control options available for canola growers.
Information for Reporters
Monsanto will hold a conference call for media in conjunction with today's pipeline announcement at 10 a.m. (Central Time). To participate, dial 877-407-8037 (toll-free) or 201-689-8037 (international). Slides for the call are posted online at http://www.monsanto.com/products/Pages/research-development-pipeline.aspx. Audio and video files also are available for reporter use at http://www.monsanto.com/newsviews/Pages/pipeline-update-audio-downloads.aspx.
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