Global Agriculture

AgPlenus Announces Licensing & Collaboration Agreement with Bayer to Develop a New Sustainable Weed Control Solution

The collaboration will tap into the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) to design and optimize crop protection chemistry, developing a novel sustainable Mode-of-Action (MoA) broad-spectrum herbicide for farmers

22 February 2024, Israel: AgPlenus Ltd., a global leader in designing and developing novel sustainable crop protection products and a subsidiary of Evogene Ltd. (Nasdaq: EVGN, TASE: EVGN), announced today the signing of a licensing & collaboration agreement with Bayer AG, a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and agriculture.

In collaboration with Bayer’s Crop Science division, having an industry-leading R&D pipeline and portfolio of seeds & traits, crop protection, and digital farming solutions, AgPlenus will use its AI-driven computational modeling technology to design and optimize molecules identified for their broad-spectrum herbicidal activity targeting the APTH1 protein, a new mode of action identified by AgPlenus.

Herbicide market is valued at $42.81 billion in 2024[1] and is crucial for ensuring global food security. It is also an essential part of regenerative agricultural practices such as cover crops and no-till. Most commercially available herbicides are based on molecules that inhibit target proteins that are essential for weed vitality. In recent years, the global agricultural industry has been facing a growing challenge of weed resistance to the limited number of existing products available to farmers, whose challenges are further exacerbated by climate change that is causing weeds to evolve and spread.

The two companies will collaborate to optimize new molecules, identified by AgPlenus and tested by Bayer, into commercially viable candidates. The collaboration will leverage AgPlenus’ proprietary computational technology, powered by Evogene’s ChemPass AI tech engine, together with Bayer’s extensive expertise in research, development and commercialization of crop protection products.

Under the agreement, Bayer will have the exclusive license for the development and commercialization of products developed within the collaboration. AgPlenus will be entitled to receive an upfront payment, ongoing research funding, milestone payments, and royalties based on future product sales.

“We are looking forward to the collaboration with AgPlenus, which shares our belief that the breakthrough technologies available today represent a vast potential to design and develop entirely new solutions to help farmers overcome challenges such as pest resistance, climate change, and societal expectations towards crop protection,” said Rachel Rama, Head of Small Molecules at Bayer’s Crop Science division. “Bringing together AgPlenus’ expertise with Bayer’s CropKey approach to crop protection innovation will help accelerate the delivery of essential, sustainable, and affordable solutions to farmers and set a new benchmark in the industry.”

Dr. Brian Ember, CEO of AgPlenus, said: “The collaboration with Bayer is a significant step forward for AgPlenus and validates the value of our computational technology platform. Leveraging Bayer’s expertise and AgPlenus’s technology, our mutual goal is to provide farmers worldwide with effective tools for more sustainable crop protection by introducing a novel herbicide with a new MoA.”

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