- The platform is compatible with all existing gene editing tools and allows for non-transgenic editing of RNAi genes to enable a far greater set of crop protection and crop enhancement applications than existing technologies
- Recognising this technology’s wider potential beyond tropical crops, Tropic Biosciences is making GEiGS™ commercially available to select companies in other sectors
- The launch is part of the company’s strategy to support local grower communities, promote consumer health, and reduce the environmental impact of the global agriculture industry
NORWICH, 14 March 2019: Tropic Biosciences, a pioneering agricultural-biotechnology company dedicated to the development of high-performing varieties of tropical crops, is proud to announce the launch of its proprietary GEiGS™ technology (Gene Editing induced Gene Silencing) and the computational platform that enables its application, GEiGS-BioCompute.
GEiGS™ builds upon available gene editing tools (e.g. CRISPR, TALEN) to edit existing RNAi genes and direct their silencing functions towards new targets, including insects, viruses, fungi, or even a plant’s own genes. The ability to precisely redirect silencing functions in this way has exciting implications for the global agricultural industry, enabling a robust set of new crop protection and crop enhancement applications.
Gilad Gershon, CEO of Tropic Biosciences commented: “The GEiGS-BioCompute platform is the culmination of several years of work on our part and we are delighted to share it with the agricultural community. The benefits of this technology are numerous; we are particularly excited by its potential to improve the lives of growers and consumers alike through the development of disease resistant plant varieties. We are already using GEiGS™ to support our work on coffee and bananas, as well as providing access to the technology to select companies in order to advance their industries.”
To date, the applications of gene editing have required extensive efforts to discover and validate genes within a plant, that when edited can provide resistance against pathogens. This process can take as many as 10 years, incurring significant costs, with no guarantee of achieving the desired outcome. GEiGS™ overcomes these challenges by targeting a pathogen’s genes directly, enhancing product development pipelines substantially.
Dr. Eyal Maori, CSO of Tropic Biosciences, commented: “GEiGS-BioCompute streamlines the gene editing process significantly by analysing a plant’s genomic data to determine where the fewest changes can be made to non-coding genes in order to achieve a new, desired trait. The process is extremely accurate, requiring changes to only a handful of nucleotides out of billions, while allowing us to finely tune expression levels and control the tissue in which the silencing will occur, therefore enabling highly customised and effective applications.”
Recognising the immense value GEiGS™ offers the wider industry, Tropic Biosciences has made GEiGS™ available to selected companies for use in the development of their own products across a variety of fruit, vegetable and cereal crops. Proceeds from the commercialisation of GEiGS will be reinvested into the platform, and used by Tropic Biosciences to support the development of new varieties of tropical crops.
Dr. Ofir Meir, CTO of Tropic Biosciences, said; “GEiGS™ represents a true step forward in expanding the application of gene editing to a greater set of commercial objectives. In conjunction with GEiGS-BioCompute, it provides an excellent basis to tackle critical disease challenges in plants and overcome the time and cost constraints associated with traditional gene editing techniques.”
Notes to Editors
About Tropic Biosciences
Tropic Biosciences is a UK-based biotechnology company focused on utilising advanced plant breeding and gene editing technologies to develop high-performing commercial tropical crops, namely coffee and bananas. It employs 30 industry-leading professionals and is headquartered in Norwich’s renowned John Innes Centre, where it has access to cutting-edge facilities and a highly qualified workforce.
The company was founded in 2016 by a team of highly experienced entrepreneurs and researchers including Gilad Gershon, an experienced AgTech private equity investor and entrepreneur; and Dr. Eyal Maori, scientific co-founder of Beelogics, which was acquired by Monsanto in 2011; and Dr Ofir Meir, former Head of the Agro Chemistry Division at Rosetta Green, acquired by Monsanto in 2013. The advisory team includes industry veterans such as Dr. David Lawrence, former Head of R&D at Syngenta; Dr. Vincent Pétiard, former Director of the Nestlé Corporate Research & Development Centere for Plant Science and Technology; Erez Vigodman, the former President and CEO of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries; and world-renowned plant geneticist, Professor Sir David Baulcombe.
In 2018, Tropic Biosciences closed its Series A funding, securing investment from industry leading backers Pontifax AgTech, Five Seasons Ventures, Tekfen Ventures, Bits X Bites and Emerald Technology Ventures.
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