January 10, 2017

Monsanto Announces Global Genome-Editing Licensing Agreement With Broad Institute For Newly-Characterized CRISPR System

Monsanto

January 4, 2017- ST. LOUIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) announced today that it has reached a new global licensing agreement with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard for the use of the novel CRISPR-Cpf1 genome-editing technology in agriculture. The CRISPR-Cpf1 system represents an exciting advance in genome-editing technology, because it has potential to be a simpler and more precise tool for making targeted improvements in a cell’s DNA when compared to the CRISPR-Cas9 system.

Researchers believe that the CRISPR-Cpf1 system may offer an expanded set of benefits for advancing and delivering improved agricultural products than the CRISPR-Cas9 system. Some of these benefits include greater flexibility in the method used to edit and in the locations where edits may occur. In addition, the smaller size of the CRISPR-Cpf1 system provides researchers with more flexibility to use the genome-editing technology across multiple crops.

“The CRISPR-Cpf1 system is a powerful new discovery within the field of genome editing, and we’re excited to license the system and add it to our growing portfolio of genome-editing tools,” said Tom Adams, Ph.D., biotechnology lead for Monsanto. “This system offers a technical step-change by presenting new ways to improve crops for farmers and society alike, offering researchers greater flexibility and new capabilities using this emerging technology to improve agriculture.”

“The CRISPR-Cpf1 system represents a transformative application of genome editing for the research community,” said Issi Rozen, chief business officer of the Broad Institute. “This system can directly benefit advanced research in human health and global agriculture. We are proud to partner with stakeholders throughout the biomedical and agriculture community to help deliver responsible solutions for our planet.”

Monsanto believes that genome-editing technologies – including the CRISPR-Cpf1 system – will continue to provide a powerful tool for its research in plant breeding and biotechnology, with the promise to unlock the full potential of its world-leading germplasm and genome libraries and contribute to the development of exciting new products. The company is exploring genome editing in a phased approach across single-gene knock-outs, single-gene edits and multiple-gene edits. Over the last year, Monsanto has licensed multiple genome-editing technologies – including a separate license from the Broad Institute for use of the CRISPR-Cas9 system in agriculture – to develop a leading portfolio of tools in this field. The intellectual property around the CRISPR-Cpf1 system is independent from the CRISPR-Cas patent estate, and this CRISPR-Cpf1 license provides Monsanto with another valuable tool for genome editing in this rapidly advancing field of science.

Under the agreement announced today, the Broad Institute grants Monsanto a worldwide non-exclusive license for agricultural applications of the CRISPR-Cpf1 system. Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed. For more information on the Broad Institute, visit www.broadinstitute.org.

About Monsanto Company

Monsanto is committed to bringing a broad range of solutions to help nourish our growing world. We produce seeds for fruits, vegetables and key crops – such as corn, soybeans, and cotton – that help farmers have better harvests while using water and other important resources more efficiently. We work to find sustainable solutions for soil health, help farmers use data to improve farming practices and conserve natural resources, and provide crop protection products to minimize damage from pests and disease. Through programs and partnerships, we collaborate with farmers, researchers, nonprofit organizations, universities and others to help tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges. To learn more about Monsanto, our commitments and our more than 20,000 dedicated employees, please visit: discover.monsanto.com and monsanto.com. Follow our business on Twitter® at twitter.com/MonsantoCo, on the company blog, Beyond the Rows® at monsantoblog.com or subscribe to our News Release RSS Feed.