Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, and ZeaKal, a San Diego, CA-based plant science innovator focused on improving agricultural productivity, on Wednesday announced a strategic R&D collaboration.
Together, they will advance ZeaKal’s innovative technology to help improve seed quality and increase crop yield by enhancing the photosynthetic capacity and efficiency of plants.
As part of the alliance, Corteva Agriscience will take a minority equity stake in ZeaKal. The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
“As part of Corteva Agriscience’s mission to offer farmers complete solutions that help maximize their productivity, we are excited to collaborate with ZeaKal to develop its proprietary seed technology with improved agronomic yield,” said Neal Gutterson, Chief Technology Officer for Corteva Agriscience. “This collaboration reflects Corteva Agriscience’s approach to open innovation, leveraging collaborations around the world to pursue transformational innovations that enhance sustainability and provide consumers with healthier food options.”
ZeaKal and Corteva Agriscience will work together to develop and test ZeaKal’s proprietary PhotoSeed™ technology, which uses a novel mechanism for increasing a plant’s intrinsic photosynthetic capacity. PhotoSeed plants can harvest more sunlight and fix more carbon dioxide, which allows for significant improvement in seed and grain yield. PhotoSeed also improves seed composition quality by increasing both oil and protein content. For farmers, this means increasing productivity and profitability without additional inputs. For consumers, it means agriculture that can deliver better nutrition on a smaller environmental footprint.
“Corteva Agriscience is the ideal business to help us accelerate PhotoSeed’s path to commercialization,” said Han Chen, ZeaKal’s Chief Executive Officer. “Corteva Agriscience brings extensive expertise and a deep bench of resources that will advance our technology development and ensure PhotoSeed meets the gold standard that farmers have come to expect. The collaboration furthers our mission to sustainably feed our growing population while meeting evolving consumer and environmental demands.”