Chromatin Inc. announced that it has launched a joint program with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to accelerate the development of mini-chromosome technology for the efficient and effective delivery of multiple traits in corn.

"This corn program will dramatically accelerate Chromatin's mini-chromosome technology through the impact of world-class corn researchers, state of the art facilities, and a supportive community," said Mich Hein, president and CEO of Chromatin. "The Urbana-Champaign site will provide depth and flexibility for the company's ongoing internal program as well as collaborative programs with industry and academia."

As part of its relationship with the university, Chromatin has entered into a Collaborative Research Agreement with Stephen Moose, University of Illinois assistant professor of maize functional genomics/genetics. The partnership will leverage Moose's expertise in corn breeding and genetics and the application of Chromatin's mini-chromosome technology for the development of improved agronomic and performance characteristics in corn.

"Mini-chromosome technology represents an innovative and elegant approach to the challenge of identifying important genes, developing new products, and accelerating the breeding of new lines to benefit growers, processors and consumers. I look forward to collaborating with Chromatin and its team and to contributing to this exciting effort," said Moose.

Chromatin has constructed numerous corn mini-chromosomes and studied their performance in cell culture and plant systems. The program at UIUC is part of the company's effort to move its corn mini-chromosomes into evaluation for commercial development.

Last October, Chromatin announced that it successfully raised $7.3 million in a Series B round of financing. Investors include the National Corn Growers Association, IllinoisVENTURES, Unilever Technology Ventures, Burrill & Company, Venture Investors and Foragen. IllinoisVENTURES invests in early stage companies through its Illinois Emerging Technologies Fund, a venture fund focusing on university-derived technologies, particularly those developed at the University of Illinois.

Source: Company Release