Monsanto Licenses Genome Modification Technology

Monsanto Co. has formed a non-exclusive research and commercial license agreement with Romainville, France-based Cellectis S.A. for broad use of its meganuclease technology in plants. Cellectis is a biotechnology company specialized in genome engineering. The Monsanto announcement describes meganucleases as "molecular scissors that can be directed to a single site in the genome of a plant cell, thereby allowing a wide range of precise genome modifications, including gene stacking, gene knock-out as well as modulation of gene function to develop new traits."

Under the agreement, Monsanto will have access to Cellectis’ intellectual property on meganucleases and its custom meganuclease production platform. Cellectis will receive an upfront payment of $4.26 million. Subject to the approval of the Extraordinary General Meeting of Cellectis’ shareholders, Monsanto will make an equity investment of $1.42 million to allow Cellectis to scale the technology for agriculture. Cellectis will also be eligible to receive fees for the development of each meganuclease, success-based milestones and may receive royalties on certain traits commercialized by Monsanto.

Further financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

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