FuturaGene, a wholly owned subsidiary of world-leading eucalyptus pulp producer, Suzano, will use patented genome editing technology from global pure-play agriculture company, Corteva Agriscience, and non-profit research organization, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, to develop new, improved eucalyptus varieties.
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FuturaGene intends to apply the gene editing technology to research and develop new varieties of eucalyptus that are more productive, resistant to diseases and pests and have improved fiber properties. In addition, the company aims for the new varieties to be more resilient to climate change and to serve as an alternative to products derived from fossil fuels. FuturaGene has the option to convert the worldwide research license to cover commercial applications.
Dr. Stanley Hirsch, CEO of FuturaGene, commented: “With our extensive experience and growing pipeline, FuturaGene is well placed to apply gene editing technology from our licensors to develop eucalyptus varieties that can help the world meet the growing demand for renewable wood-based products. This includes fibers and the potential to replace carbon-intensive fossil fuel-based materials, such as plastics, in a sustainable way.
“Our ability to share the benefits of this major enabling technology with small farmers within our supply chain, royalty free, was an important part of our negotiations with the licensors. This commitment is strongly aligned with Suzano’s sustainability goal to mitigate income inequality and help lift people out of poverty. FuturaGene has always seen shared value as a vital part of our purpose”.
The multi-institutional license covers CRISPR-Cas9 patent rights owned by a collection of leading universities and institutes.
The licensed genome editing technology gives scientists the ability to edit an organism’s DNA by altering and silencing genes or adding genetic material at specific locations in a highly targeted way.