Monsanto also signs research collaboration agreement with and makes equity investment in Synthetic Genomics Inc., co-founding company of Agradis, Inc.
ST. LOUIS (Jan. 30, 2013) – Monsanto Company today announced it has purchased select assets of Agradis, Inc. (Agradis), a privately held company focused on developing sustainable agricultural solutions. Monsanto’s purchase includes the Agradis name and its collection of microbes that can improve crop productivity. Monsanto has also acquired the company’s R&D site in La Jolla, California. Additional details were not disclosed.
Agradis was formed in 2011 by Synthetic Genomics Inc (SGI), a privately held company led by J. Craig Venter, Ph.D. Founder and CEO, dedicated to developing genomic-driven solutions to address global challenges, and Plenus, S.A. de C.V. (Plenus) a Mexico-based investing and management company headed by Alfonso Romo, which has extensive experience in a variety of business areas, including agribusiness. The assets of Agradis not purchased by Monsanto include castor and sweet sorghum breeding and genetic optimization technologies, as well as a novel product used to prevent fungal growth on fruits and vegetables. These assets will continue to be advanced by SGI and Plenus in a new company, AgraCast.
“Agradis’ collection of plant associated microbes will support Monsanto’s efforts to provide farmers with sustainable biological products to improve crop health and productivity,” said Steve Padgette, Monsanto R&D investment strategy lead. “We value the expertise and capabilities the Agradis team brings to Monsanto as we continue to build on this exciting area of research.”
Dr. Venter stated, “SGI and Plenus formed Agradis with the belief that our extensive expertise in microbial genomics could accelerate advances in agriculture. We are pleased that Monsanto realizes the potential of the Agradis science and technology as evidenced by their acquisition of some key assets of the company. We look forward to working with Monsanto to continue to generate innovation in agribusiness.”
Today’s announcement also includes an agricultural research agreement between Monsanto and SGI. The multi-year research collaboration will focus on the analysis of microbe-plant communities and screening for beneficial microorganisms that could be used to develop additional biological products to improve agricultural productivity. Monsanto has also made an equity investment in SGI. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.
“We look forward to bringing together the genomics strength of Monsanto, Agradis and SGI to identify new agricultural solutions,” Padgette added. “We share a common vision that sustainable agricultural products can help meet growing demand, and Monsanto views SGI as an excellent partner in helping bring innovation to growers.”
Monsanto launched the agricultural biologicals platform of its research and development pipeline last year with the introduction of BioDirect™ technology. To learn more about Monsanto’s agricultural biologicals platform, visit: http://www.monsanto.com/products/Pages/biodirect-ag-biologicals.aspx.
About Monsanto Company
Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. Monsanto remains focused on enabling both small-holder and large-scale farmers to produce more from their land while conserving more of our world's natural resources such as water and energy. To learn more about our business and our commitments, please visit: www.monsanto.com. Follow our business on Twitter® at www.twitter.com/MonsantoCo, on the company blog, Beyond the Rows® at www.monsantoblog.com, or subscribe to our News Release RSS Feed.
About Agradis, Inc.
Agradis, a privately held agricultural company based in San Diego, CA, is focused on developing and commercializing products to improve crop production using new scientific and technology advances in genomics. For more information please visit www.agradis.com
About Synthetic Genomics Inc.
SGI, a privately held company founded in 2005, is dedicated to developing and commercializing genomic-driven solutions to address global energy and environment challenges. The company's main research and business programs are currently focused on the following major bioenergy areas: designing advanced biofuels with superior properties compared to ethanol and biodiesel; harnessing photosynthetic organisms to produce value added products directly from sunlight and carbon dioxide; developing new biological solutions to increase production and/or recovery rates of subsurface hydrocarbons and developing high-yielding, more disease resistant and economic feedstocks. For more information go to www.syntheticgenomics.com.
Monsanto Cautionary Statements Regarding Forward-Looking Information:
Certain statements contained in this release are "forward-looking statements," such as statements concerning the company's anticipated financial results, current and future product performance, regulatory approvals, business and financial plans and other non-historical facts. These statements are based on current expectations and currently available information. However, since these statements are based on factors that involve risks and uncertainties, the company's actual performance and results may differ materially from those described or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, among others: continued competition in seeds, traits and agricultural chemicals; the company's exposure to various contingencies, including those related to intellectual property protection, regulatory compliance and the speed with which approvals are received, and public acceptance of biotechnology products; the success of the company's research and development activities; the outcomes of major lawsuits and the previously-announced SEC investigation; developments related to foreign currencies and economies; successful operation of recent acquisitions; fluctuations in commodity prices; compliance with regulations affecting our manufacturing; the accuracy of the company's estimates related to distribution inventory levels; the company's ability to fund its short-term financing needs and to obtain payment for the products that it sells; the effect of weather conditions, natural disasters and accidents on the agriculture business or the company's facilities; and other risks and factors detailed in the company's most recent Form 10-K Report to the SEC. Undue reliance should not be placed on these forward-looking statements, which are current only as of the date of this release. The company disclaims any current intention or obligation to update any forward-looking statements or any of the factors that may affect actual results.
Monsanto: Sara Miller (314-694-5824)
SGI: Heather Kowalski (858-754-2910)