Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation, a leading developer of RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics, announced that it has signed an Option Agreement with Monsanto, pursuant to which Monsanto may obtain a license to use Tekmira's proprietary delivery technology.
The transaction will support the application of Tekmira's proprietary delivery technology and related intellectual property (IP) for use in agriculture.
Tekmira noted that the potential value of the transaction could reach up to US$86.2 million following the successful completion of milestones. Tekmira expects to receive a near term payment of net US$16.5 million.
The agreement announced today follows Monsanto's initial testing of Tekmira's proprietary delivery technology and the demonstration of initial positive results from use of that technology in the field of agriculture. The companies' agreement and research collaboration will now focus on the development of new innovative biological solutions for farmers, which have the potential to provide new options for sustainable pest, virus and weed control.
Over the option period, which is expected to be approximately four years, Tekmira will provide lipid formulations to Monsanto's research and development activities, and Monsanto will make certain payments to Tekmira to maintain its option rights.
At any time during the option period, Monsanto may choose to exercise its option, in which case Monsanto will pay to Tekmira an option exercise fee and will receive a worldwide, exclusive right to use Tekmira's proprietary delivery technology in the field of agriculture.
Monsanto may elect to terminate this option at their discretion. Tekmira retains all rights to therapeutics uses of all current IP and IP developed under the agreement.
"Our proprietary delivery technology is enabling the most advanced applications of RNAi therapeutics in the clinic.
This new agreement points to the broad applicability of Tekmira's delivery platform, and underscores the promise of applying this science within the field of agriculture. We are pleased to have this additional validation of our technology," said Dr. Mark J. Murray, Tekmira's President and CEO.
"As a core pillar of our business strategy, we continue to seek out a wide range of partnerships where our technology can enable the programs of our collaborators," added Dr. Murray.
"We are pleased to partner with Tekmira to explore development of their delivery technologies for the field of agriculture," said Dr. Robert M McCarroll, Vice President of Chemistry Technology for Monsanto Company. "We believe that by collaborating with Tekmira, the company's research can provide a key enablement to support and expand our BioDirect technology platform."