MONHEIM -- Bayer CropScience will strengthen its commitment to its rapidly growing Seeds and Traits business by establishing a Plant Biotechnology Research center in Morrisville, N.C.



Over the next five years, over 10 million USD will be invested and about 130 new jobs will be created. The opening of a dedicated BioScience Innovation Center in the U.S. will improve access to US-based innovation and extend the company's presence in the important U.S. market. The new site is scheduled to be operational in the fall.



Research at Bayer CropScience's first US-based Biotech Innovation Center will support trait development across a range of crop platforms. These discovery programs will focus on agronomic performance and yield stability. The Innovation Center will also house various Technology Management functions, which take leading roles in performing studies and preparing regulatory dossiers for new plant biotechnology products that are already well advanced in the pipeline. The state of North Carolina will support the project with a multi-year incentive plan to facilitate the development of the center.



"Bayer CropScience plans to invest some EUR 750 million in the research and development of new solutions for its Seeds & Traits business from 2008 to 2012," explains Dr. Joachim Schneider, Head of BioScience at CropScience. In April, the company has already announced its intention to consolidate its European biotech research activities in Ghent, Belgium.



Last year, 62.5 million hectares of genetically modified crops were grown in the United States, putting the USA in first place ahead of Argentina and Brazil in the adoption of genetically modified traits. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics 86 percent of the land used for growing cotton on the United States in 2008 was planted with genetically modified varieties. For corn, this figure was 80 percent, while for soybeans it even amounted to 92 percent.



"Bayer CropScience has strong roots in North Carolina and a clear intention to expand the business here," says Bill Buckner, President and CEO of Bayer CropScience's U.S. subsidiary Bayer CropScience LP. The region is a center for biotechnology and agricultural innovation, he added, with an extremely qualified workforce. Bayer CropScience currently employs a total of 2,400 individuals across the U.S., 476 of whom work in North Carolina.



Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, nutrition and high-tech materials. Bayer CropScience AG, a subsidiary of Bayer AG with annual sales of about EUR 6.4 billion (2008), is one of the world's leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of crop protection, non-agricultural pest control, seeds and plant biotechnology. The company offers an outstanding range of products and extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture and for non-agricultural applications. Bayer CropScience has a global workforce of more than 18,000 and is represented in more than 120 countries.



SOURCE: Bayer CropScience.