DuPont and Melbourne, Australia-based Hexima Ltd. announced a development and commercialization agreement for certain biotech fungal disease resistance technology in corn, soybeans, and other crops.
In this collaboration, DuPont business Pioneer Hi-Bred and Hexima will combine certain intellectual property and anti-fungal protein assets to accelerate the development and commercialization of transgenic fungal disease resistance technology in corn, soybeans, and other crops. Hexima will lead the initial stage research and crop validation, and Pioneer will lead late stage development. Pioneer will lead commercialization in corn and soybeans, and Hexima will manage all other crops.
"We are always looking for new ways to tackle specific challenges that our customers face," said Paul Schickler, Pioneer president and DuPont vice president and general manager. "This agreement with world-class experts in fungal disease resistance technology is a great example of the innovative approaches we’re using to help solve these challenges."
The collaboration will utilize Pioneer proprietary gene-shuffling technology and Hexima proprietary gene delivery technology.
The initial target for the collaboration is broad-spectrum disease resistance in corn. Fungal pathogens can cause extensive damage to corn fields globally, including yield loss, impaired ability to harvest, and reduced grain quality. Stalk rots are the most common fungal diseases in corn fields worldwide, with multiple pathogens creating estimated yield losses of more than $1 billion in North and South America alone.
Pioneer and Hexima — together with grower-customers — will share the value created by the disease resistance traits developed in this collaboration. Hexima will have the opportunity to co-invest with Pioneer in the late stage development of collaboration traits. This would double Hexima’s share of the value and enhance the return to Hexima’s shareholders. Hexima will be entitled to success-based milestone payments.