The Two Blades Foundation (2Blades) announced the completion of a nonexclusive license agreement with Bayer CropScience AG for access to the TAL Code technology for commercial uses in certain crop plants. Two Blades is licensing its technology to several major companies as licensing announcements have previously been issued for Two Blades working with Monsanto and Syngenta earlier this year.

The Transcription Activator Like (TAL) effector code enables a number of highly useful tools to target specific loci in a genome and modulate the expression of genes. Named Method of the Year in 2011 by the journal Nature Methods (9:1 doi:10.1038/nmeth.1852), the technology is based on novel sequence- ‐specific DNA- binding proteins that can be designed quickly and easily to recognize virtually any sequence of interest. Application of these tools in plants will facilitate the optimization of beneficial genes and the development of more productive crops in the future.

The TAL Code technology was discovered by Ulla Bonas, Jens Boch, Thomas Lahaye, and Sebastian Schornack at Martin-Luther University in Halle, Germany. The Two Blades Foundation holds exclusive rights for commercial uses of the technology in plants.

The license agreement with Bayer CropScience will enable Bayer to pursue their mission of using modern plant breeding techniques to improve the quality of crops and vegetables. Bayer will grant 2Blades access to its improvements to the technology for use in 2Blades’ humanitarian efforts to support subsistence farming. Bayer will also have an option to expand its crop rights in the future. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“2Blades is interested in facilitating broad development of the TAL Code technology,” said 2Blades Chief Operating Officer Diana Horvath. “We are pleased that Bayer will deploy this powerful new technology in their crop programs.”