Monsanto and 2Blades Foundation Collaborate to Combat Corn Diseases

Monday January 30, 2017

Dateline:

ST. LOUIS & EVANSTON, Ill.
"The combination of The Sainsbury Laboratory’s extensive expertise in the molecular basis of plant disease, 2Blades’ proficiency in managing the discovery and advancement of plant disease resistance, and Monsanto’s proven ability to deliver products to farmers provide a strong foundation for producing new genetic solutions for corn diseases."

ST. LOUIS & EVANSTON, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Monsanto Company and 2Blades Foundation (2Blades) have formed a collaboration to discover novel sources of genetic resistance to devastating corn diseases. 2Blades will deliver these resistance genes in collaboration with The Sainsbury Laboratory (Norwich, UK), the leading global institute for research on plant-pathogen interactions and long-term partner of 2Blades.

“Mid and late season corn disease complexes such as stalk and ear rots are among the most significant corn diseases and are endemic across many major growing regions, with the potential to cause significant yield losses,” said Tom Adams, Monsanto’s biotechnology lead. “With few effective treatment options or resistant hybrids available, developing new solutions is critical and this collaboration will help bring much-needed disease-resistance solutions to corn farmers.”

2Blades’ mission is to contribute to world-wide food security by developing crops with long-lasting resistance to pathogens in order to reduce losses due to disease. “This program aims to produce genetic solutions for a difficult set of diseases that causes significant yield loss in corn,” said Diana Horvath, president of 2Blades. “The combination of The Sainsbury Laboratory’s extensive expertise in the molecular basis of plant disease, 2Blades’ proficiency in managing the discovery and advancement of plant disease resistance, and Monsanto’s proven ability to deliver products to farmers provide a strong foundation for producing new genetic solutions for corn diseases.”

“The Sainsbury Laboratory’s dual mission is to carry out fundamental research and to capitalize on these discoveries to reduce crop losses to important diseases,” said Cyril Zipfel, head of The Sainsbury Laboratory. “This collaboration allows us to address important crop problems with a partner that can bring the solutions to market.”

The collaboration compliments Monsanto’s work to discover and develop products that help farmers protect yield with broad-spectrum and durable disease control against economically-important broad acre diseases. 2Blades retains the rights to deploy new leads arising from the program in crops for subsistence agriculture.

About Monsanto Company

Monsanto is committed to bringing a broad range of solutions to help nourish our growing world. We produce seeds for fruits, vegetables and key crops – such as corn, soybeans, and cotton – that help farmers have better harvests while using water and other important resources more efficiently. We work to find sustainable solutions for soil health, help farmers use data to improve farming practices and conserve natural resources, and provide crop protection products to minimize damage from pests and disease. Through programs and partnerships, we collaborate with farmers, researchers, nonprofit organizations, universities and others to help tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges. To learn more about Monsanto, our commitments and our more than 20,000 dedicated employees, please visit: discover.monsanto.com and monsanto.com. Follow our business on Twitter® at twitter.com/MonsantoCo, on the company blog, Beyond the Rows® at monsantoblog.com or subscribe to our News Release RSS Feed.

About 2Blades Foundation

The 2Blades Foundation, based in Evanston, Illinois, is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to the discovery, advancement, and delivery of durable disease resistance in crops. 2Blades establishes and manages development programs addressing significant unsolved crop disease problems in collaboration with leading research institutions around the world and at the 2Blades Group in The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, UK. 2Blades manages a portfolio of specific traits and enabling technologies that it implements in its own programs and out-licenses for broad use. Visit the 2Blades website at www.2blades.org and follow 2Blades on twitter at @2blades.

About The Sainsbury Laboratory

The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL) is a world-leading research centre focusing on making fundamental discoveries about plants and how they interact with microbes. TSL not only provides fundamental biological insights into plant-pathogen interactions, but is also delivering novel, genomics-based, solutions which will significantly reduce losses from major diseases of food crops, especially in developing countries. TSL is an independent charitable company and receives strategic funding from the Gatsby Charitable Foundation with the balance coming from competitive grants and contracts from a range of public and private bodies, including the European Union (EU), Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and commercial and charitable organisations www.tsl.ac.uk.

Cautionary Statements Regarding Forward-Looking Information

Certain statements contained in this release are “forward-looking statements,” such as statements concerning the company’s anticipated financial results, current and future product performance, regulatory approvals, business and financial plans and other non-historical facts, as well as the pending transaction with Bayer Aktiengesellschaft (“Bayer”). These statements are based on current expectations and currently available information. However, since these statements are based on factors that involve risks and uncertainties, the company’s actual performance and results may differ materially from those described or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, among others: risks related to the pending transaction between the company and Bayer, including the risk that the regulatory approvals required for the transaction may not be obtained on the anticipated terms or time frame or at all, the risk that the other conditions to the completion of the transaction may not be satisfied, the risk that disruptions or uncertainties related to the pending transaction could adversely affect the company’s business, financial performance and/or relationships with third parties, and the risk that certain contractual restrictions during the pendency of the transaction could adversely affect the company’s ability to pursue business opportunities or strategic transactions; continued competition in seeds, traits and agricultural chemicals; the company's exposure to various contingencies, including those related to intellectual property protection, regulatory compliance and the speed with which approvals are received, and public understanding and acceptance of our biotechnology and other agricultural products; the success of the company's research and development activities; the outcomes of major lawsuits, including potential litigation related to the pending transaction with Bayer; developments related to foreign currencies and economies; fluctuations in commodity prices; compliance with regulations affecting our manufacturing; the accuracy of the company's estimates related to distribution inventory levels; the recent increases in levels of indebtedness, continued availability of capital and financing and rating agency actions; the company's ability to fund its short-term financing needs and to obtain payment for the products that it sells; the effect of weather conditions, natural disasters, accidents, and security breaches, including cybersecurity incidents, on the agriculture business or the company's facilities; and other risks and factors detailed in the company's most recent periodic report to the SEC. Undue reliance should not be placed on these forward-looking statements, which are current only as of the date of this release. The company disclaims any current intention or obligation to update any forward-looking statements or any of the factors that may affect actual results.

Contact:

Monsanto
Carly Scaduto, 314-694-3247
or
Two Blades Foundation
Jack Westwood, 847-425-1277