U.S. Biotech Roots Getting Stronger

Bayer CropScience will strengthen its commitment to its rapidly growing Seeds and Traits business by establishing a plant biotechnology research center in Morrisville, NC.

During the next five years, more than $10 million will be invested and about 130 new jobs will be created. The opening of a dedicated BioScience Innovation Center in the U.S. will improve access to U.S.-based innovation and extend the company’s presence in the important U.S. market. The new site is scheduled to be operational in the fall.

Research at Bayer CropScience’s first U.S.-based Biotech Innovation Center will support trait development across a range of crop platforms. These discovery programs will focus on agronomic performance and yield stability. The Innovation Center will also house various Technology Management functions, which take leading roles in performing studies and preparing regulatory dossiers for new plant biotechnology products that are already well advanced in the pipeline. The state of North Carolina will support the project with a multi-year incentive plan to facilitate the development of the center.

“Bayer CropScience plans to invest some EUR 750 million in the research and development of new solutions for its Seeds & Traits business from 2008 to 2012,” explains Dr. Joachim Schneider, head of BioScience at CropScience. In April, the company had already announced its intention to consolidate its European biotech research activities in Ghent, Belgium.

Last year, 62.5 million hectares of genetically modified crops were grown in the U.S., putting the country in first place ahead of Argentina and Brazil in the adoption of genetically modified traits. According to USDA statistics, 86 percent of the land used for growing cotton on the U.S. in 2008 was planted with genetically modified varieties. For corn, this figure was 80 percent, while in soybeans it totaled 92 percent.

“Bayer CropScience has strong roots in North Carolina and a clear intention to expand the business here,” says Bill Buckner, president and CEO of Bayer
CropScience’s U.S. subsidiary Bayer CropScience LP. The region is a center for biotechnology and agricultural innovation, he adds, with an extremely qualified workforce. Bayer CropScience currently employs a total of 2,400 individuals across the U.S., 476 of whom work in North Carolina.

(Source: Bayer AG)

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