ST. LOUIS– Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) announced that it has acquired Divergence, Inc., a privately-held St. Louis-based biotechnology research and development company. Divergence’s current focus is its work with parasitic nematodes, including developing biotechnology traits for nematode control and nematicides with novel modes of action and superior safety profiles.
“Nematodes are one of the most challenging agricultural pests farmers face each year, and we’ve seen them become more pervasive,” said Robb Fraley, Ph.D., Monsanto’s chief technology officer. “These pests cost farmers millions in damages annually to crops like corn, soy, cotton and vegetables. Divergence has promising tools in its pipeline, including a nematicide which we believe could be used as a valuable seed treatment formulation to maximize the performance potential of the seeds and traits farmers plant.”
“This is an exciting opportunity for Divergence,” said Derek Rapp, Divergence’s chief executive officer. “We’re thrilled to see our research and product platforms, including our nematode resistant plant and nematicide work, move to Monsanto, a company that has the experience and resources to deliver outstanding products to farmers. We’re confident that the hard work of the Divergence team will continue and will lead to new technologies with potential yield benefits for growers.”
Divergence and Monsanto established a collaborative relationship in August 2004. Under the relationship, the two companies worked to develop nematode-resistant soybeans. In 2008, the companies made public their sequence of the soybean cyst nematode genome, and extended their relationship.
“Over the years, we've had a productive and successful relationship with our partners at Divergence,” Fraley said. “We look forward to continuing this tradition and welcome Divergence’s highly experienced and talented employees to the Monsanto team.”
“Divergence has received tremendous support from the business and academic communities in the St. Louis region and throughout the state of Missouri,” Rapp added. “Our success reflects the many resources of this region and its determination to flourish in the life sciences.”
Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.