Monsanto Company reported on a remarkable year in research-and-development (R&D) advancements, highlighting progress across both its biotechnology and breeding platforms. The company’s announcement came as part of its first-quarter 2007 fiscal year conference call.
Monsanto reported on seven specific projects in the research-and-development pipeline that either advanced from one phase to the next or were added to the pipeline. The update also highlighted the company’s three High Impact Technology (HIT) projects.
“In the last two years, there has been positive movement in 70% of the projects in the pipeline,” says Robert T. Fraley, Ph.D., chief technology officer and executive vice president for Monsanto. “Of that advancement, almost half are from additions to the pipeline, reflecting the strength of our discovery engine and our collaborative efforts.”
The presentation outlined several key measures of progress including the three HIT projects:
· Roundup RReady2Yield soybeans, the company’s next-generation, herbicide-tolerant technology in soybeans, moved to Phase 4. The movement, which was based on results from its 2006 breeding trials, advanced the technology one step closer to commercial launch.
· Vistive III soybeans, designed to have a similar oil profile to olive oil, met the company’s target composition profile on three of its genetic events.
· First-generation Drought Tolerant corn continued to demonstrate yield benefits in its third year of field testing.
Other highlighted projects:
· Second-generation Drought Tolerant corn continued to complement the first-generation trait, with strong performance in both water-stressed and broad-acre field testing.
· Higher-Yielding corn advanced to Phase 2, with three of the company’s genetic events demonstrating a 5-10% yield increase.
· Nitrogen Utilization corn technology events continued to demonstrate efficient use of nitrogen within testing environments, providing overall yield stability even as the amount of applied nitrogen decreased.
· High-Oil soybeans, a soybean project from Monsanto’s Renessen joint venture with Cargill, advanced to Phase 3 after the technology continued to demonstrate a clear oil yield advantage compared with conventional checks.
Breeding a Better Seed
Fraley’s presentation was focused on the combined benefits of biotechnology and breeding, emphasizing the fact that both platforms drive plant science innovation.
“As excited as we are about the biotech pipeline, we understand that our success rides on the combination of biotechnology and breeding,” Fraley says. “We’ve put a lot of emphasis on making sure that – before we ever look to biotechnology – we have the best, highest yielding seed possible so farmers can start each season strong.”
In soybeans, Fraley also highlighted a strategy that combines strong, conventional soy breeding capabilities with breakthrough applications of molecular breeding to more efficiently identify characteristics that are important to growers.
For the latest update on Monsanto’s R&D pipeline, direct links to Fraley’s presentation slides are archived on the company’s Web site in the “Investor Information” section. To learn more about Monsanto’s pipeline, please visit: http://www.monsanto.com/.../RD_pipeline.asp