20 August 2020, California: FMC Corporation and Zymergen, a science and material innovation company focused on rethinking biology, today announced a new collaboration focused on creating breakthrough crop protection solutions.
FMC and Zymergen will develop a new, and faster, natural products discovery process that leads to the development of novel crop protection solutions for growers around the world. Leveraging Zymergen’s vast molecular library—the largest metagenomic database in the world—and deep expertise in synthetic biology, FMC will help dramatically improve the rate of success in developing innovative crop protection products.
“We look forward to working together with Zymergen to identify new molecules in ways we have not been able to in the past. FMC has an established and effective molecule discovery process that begins with chemistry. Together, we have an unparalleled advantage to quickly learn from nature and accelerate our product pipeline to address customers’ needs with precision,” said Dr. Kathleen Shelton, vice president and chief technology officer of FMC. “We’re proud to work collaboratively with leading companies like Zymergen as we enter a new era of innovation, building upon the ingenuity that has long existed in our R&D pipeline.”
Changing consumer sentiment and increased regulatory scrutiny have created opportunities to use technology in driving sustainability. This collaboration will enhance both FMC and Zymergen’s investments in sustainable innovations that address rising food needs for a growing global population.
FMC and Zymergen will target biochemical processes specific to known pests and scale the production process for viable natural product gene clusters. Harnessing Zymergen’s proprietary library of over one million gene clusters—by far the largest of its kind—as well as the company’s industry-leading fermentation capabilities and bioinformatics experience, FMC will provide criteria that reflect growers’ most important needs for novel modes of action to manage resistance. These selection criteria will inform Zymergen’s computational models and, in turn, speed discovery of higher-performing crop protection solutions based on nature.
“Zymergen’s expertise in synthetic biology, automation, and machine learning will complement FMC’s deep understanding of agriculture,” said Zach Serber, chief science officer and co-founder, Zymergen. “By partnering with nature to discover and produce molecules, we can create breakthrough solutions which address critical industry problems. Together, our goal is to convert the complexity of nature to create useful products that allow growers to better control pests and diseases.”
This collaboration builds on Zymergen’s product portfolio across applications, including agriculture, electronics and personal care. Zymergen is already working with industry leaders across a range of product areas to deliver innovations that help the grower, with a focus on crop nutrition and protection.
FMC is building an ecosystem of partners to accelerate the speed of innovation to address agriculture’s most pressing challenges. FMC’s R&D team of more than 800 scientists and associates are guiding one of the most robust discovery and development pipelines in the agricultural industry, including the first novel herbicide mode of action in over 30 years.