Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) plans to become a part of the North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC), a one-of-a-kind facility under development in Kannapolis, North Carolina, and a strategic alliance with the David H. Murdock Research Institute (DHMRI).
Envisioned and founded by David H. Murdock, owner of Castle & Cooke Inc., and majority owner of Dole Foods Company, Inc., the NCRC brings together academia and industry, and fosters collaborative research in nutrition, agriculture and biotechnology to accelerate the development of foods with enhanced flavour and greater nutritive value to improve human health.
Monsanto has signed a long-term lease to establish research facilities focused on the taste and nutritional composition of vegetables, and enhanced nutrition in food-focused row crops such as soybeans.
"I commend David for his vision in pulling together such diverse institutions that are leaders in their fields," said Robb Fraley, chief technology officer for Monsanto. "The research centre holds great promise and the potential to make a significant contribution to human health, nutrition and agriculture. The synergy that exists at a campus like this could lead to truly innovative research and products with long-term benefits for consumers."
Teamwork and third-party alliances are at the core of Monsanto's R&D leadership in agricultural biotechnology.
"Monsanto's presence on the NCRC constitutes yet another critical piece in ensuring the success of the campus," Murdock said. "I am proud to have a company with the outstanding reputation of Monsanto, a leader in the field of agricultural biotechnology, as our newest partner. I look forward to great collaboration and scientific breakthroughs between Monsanto and our other academic and industry partners on the campus."
Last year Monsanto announced a five-year collaboration with Dole to develop vegetable varieties with consumer-focused attributes such as flavour, texture, aroma and nutrition. That collaboration is a great example of the types of unique partnerships that can be developed through such a campus and how consumers can benefit from organizations with complementary strengths working together, said David Stark, vice president of consumer traits for Monsanto.
"The Kannapolis campus provides Monsanto and other institutions locating there an opportunity to forge new relationships that could ultimately lead to new flavourful and healthy choices for consumers," Stark said.
Only 29 percent of adults eat the recommended three to five servings of vegetables per day, according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control. Only 16 percent eat the recommended two to four servings of fruit.
"We hope that by developing produce varieties with fantastic flavour and real nutritional benefits, people will enjoy eating more fruits and vegetables and be healthier in the process," Stark said.
Murdock has stated his vision behind NCRC is to foster discoveries in nutrition and human health, which have a lasting impact on the way that the country, and the world, lives.
Monsanto will be a flagship corporate tenant at NCRC's 350-acre life science campus. Previously announced tenants of NCRC include the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, Duke University, Appalachian State University, and Dole Foods R&D Group.