Bayer/Evogene amend wheat research deal
Israeli plant genomics company Evogene (Rehovet) has amended its remaining work plan under its collaboration with Bayer CropScience. The two companies agreed a five-year research collaboration in December 2010 focusing on improving wheat yields, drought tolerance and fertiliser use efficiency (Agrow No 606, p 27). Evogene will shift from discovery of additional genes and single nucleotide polymorphisms to discovery of novel genomic promoters. It will seek to identify tens of promoters that will enhance the probability of success of genes in Bayer’s wheat pipeline. Under the collaboration to date, Evogene has utilised its Athlete computational discovery capabilities to discover and provide Bayer with a large number of candidate genes for potential continued development in Bayer’s wheat pipeline and commercialisation under previously agreed milestone payments and royalty bearing licences from Evogene. “The amendment reflects a growing realisation in the industry that the efficacy of a seed trait depends not only on the presence of the gene of interest, but on its optimisation with other factors including how the gene is expressed in the plant," says Evogene president and CEO Ofer Haviv.