DuPont and Syngenta announced April 10 in Chicago, IL the formation of a joint venture and licensing agreements that will bring expanded choice to North American farmers through broader access to the companies’ proprietary corn and soybean genetics and biotechnology traits.

Syngenta Seeds, Inc. and DuPont subsidiary Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. will form the seed industry’s first 50/50 joint venture to out-license genetics to U.S. and Canadian seed companies, with potential to expand worldwide.

The two companies also agree to cross-license certain corn and soybean traits that each company will market independently under their own seed brands. The agreement includes rights for Syngenta to market the new Optimum™ GAT™ herbicide tolerant trait developed by DuPont.

The joint venture, GreenLeaf Genetics LLC, will offer corn and soybean breeding material from both DuPont and Syngenta. It will also facilitate the licensing of biotech traits by both companies. While Syngenta originally launched GreenLeaf Genetics as a traits and genetics licensing business in 2004, DuPont will, for the first time, provide other seed companies targeted access to the world’s largest plant genetics library at Pioneer.

GreenLeaf Genetics will be based in Omaha, NE, and led by Ron Wulfkuhle, the current head of Syngenta’s GreenLeaf Genetics business. “We are ready to coordinate access to all the inbred lines, hybrids and traits needed for customers to feed their own breeding programs”, Wulfkuhle says.

Through the cross-license agreements: Syngenta receives a global license to the Optimum™ GAT™ trait, a DuPont proprietary glyphosate and ALS chemistry tolerant trait for both soybeans and corn to be marketed in conjunction with its Agrisure™ brand of traits. The new trait will give farmers expanded weed control options and help optimize yield. U.S. registration for the Optimum™ GAT™ trait is expected as early as 2009.

DuPont receives a global license to Syngenta’s insect resistance technology for European corn borer, corn rootworm and broad lepidopteran control as it develops the next generation of insect traits.