Tropic Biosciences partners with BASF to develop innovative traits for growers

Norwich, U.K., July 23 2020 — Tropic Biosciences announces their research agreement with BASF to utilize Tropic’s ground-breaking GEiGS™ (Gene Editing induced Gene Silencing) technology to develop traits to address growers’ most critical challenges in protecting crops.

The collaboration applies the Tropic Bioscience GEiGS™ platform within BASF’s strategic crop varieties and utilizes BASF’s expertise in the development of agricultural traits. “Our R&D teams must continue to innovate to address the most pressing challenges in agriculture, so we welcome this new tool to accelerate the delivery of sustainable trait solutions to farmers,” said Brian Vande Berg, Vice President of Trait Research in BASF’s Agricultural Solutions division. Under the agreement, Tropic Biosciences will generate GEiGS™ candidates that have the possibility to enter the BASF discovery pipeline for development of disease and pest control traits.

Jack Peart, Chief Commercial Officer of Tropic Biosciences, commented: “We are excited to make the GEiGS™ platform available for use by other companies and we are delighted to see it being applied not only in tropical crops but now in row crops through our collaboration with BASF.” He went on to say that “GEiGS™ is a powerful platform that allows us to address some of the most critical disease and pest pressures faced by growers today.”

GEiGS™ technology utilizes established genome editing tools to make precise and specific changes to only a few nucleotides within non-coding genomic locations of a host organism. These changes redirect RNA interference (RNAi, also Gene Silencing) activity of non-coding genes towards target genes, including those belonging to pathogens and pests. The approach does not depend on the introduction of foreign genes into the host genome.

Tropic Biosciences developed GEiGS™ to support its own product development, for example to produce lines of banana that are resistant to Panama disease, a devastating fungal disease that is threatening production globally. “Our aim is to help farmers increase productivity and improve sustainable environmental practices for tropical crops by applying cutting-edge gene editing technologies,” said Gilad Gershon, CEO of Tropic Biosciences. “GEiGS™ is attractive for us as it radically expands our ability to develop and commercialize non-transgenic disease resistance traits.”

About Tropic Biosciences 

Tropic Biosciences is a UK-based biotechnology company focused on utilizing advanced plant breeding and gene editing technologies to develop high-performing commercial tropical crops, namely coffee and bananas. It employs over 60 industry-leading professionals and is headquartered at the renowned Norwich Research Park, where it has access to cutting-edge facilities and a highly qualified workforce. For more information please visit www.tropicbioscience.com

About BASF’s Agricultural Solutions division
With a rapidly growing population, the world is increasingly dependent on our ability to develop and maintain sustainable agriculture and healthy environments. Working with farmers, agricultural professionals, pest management experts and others, it is our role to help make this possible. That’s why we invest in a strong R&D pipeline and broad portfolio, including seeds and traits, chemical and biological crop protection, soil management, plant health, pest control and digital farming. With expert teams in the lab, field, office and in production, we connect innovative thinking and down-to-earth action to create real world ideas that work – for farmers, society and the planet. In 2019, our division generated sales of €7.8 billion. For more information, please visit www.agriculture.basf.com or any of our social media channels.

Tropic Biosciences partners with BASF to develop traits addressing growers’ most critical challenges in protecting crops. Photo credit: BASF SE.