Devgen and Syngenta have announced a six-year global license and research agreement. The partnership will enable Syngenta to add RNA interference (RNAi) technology to its crop protection pipeline.
As of April 2013, the two companies will jointly develop new biological insect control solutions based on RNAi technology.
Under the agreement, Syngenta will develop and commercialize sprayable RNAi-based crop protection products originating from Devgen.
Devgen will bolster its research activities through funding and royalties from Syngenta, consisting of an upfront technology access payment of EUR 22m and EUR 4.8m per year to fund research over the course of the agreement.
Devgen is eligible to receive royalties from Syngenta on sales of developed products.
“We are pleased to enter this research partnership with Devgen given their leading position in RNAi research and proven expertise in RNAi-based insect control,” said Sandro Aruffo, Global Head of Research and Development at Syngenta.
Aruffo continued, “This novel technology further expands our growing range of biological insect control solutions.”
“We are pleased to have Syngenta, a leading crop protection and seed company, as partner in the RNAi field. This relationship will enable Devgen to further and fully exploit the potential of this exciting technology for spray applications.” says Thierry Bogaert, CEO of Devgen.
RNAi is a naturally occurring process in all organisms, whereby an organism shuts down specific genes in its cells based on their sequence identity to a short double stranded RNA (dsRNA) molecule.
When an RNAi spray directed to a target insect pest is applied to a crop, insects that feed on the crop ingest the sprayed dsRNA.
The naturally occurring RNAi mechanism in the target insects then shuts down the insect gene that corresponds to the dsRNA. This results in effective control with no harm to beneficial insects.