HAYWARD, Calif. -- Monsanto Company announced earlier this week that it has advanced its higher yielding soybean trait, sourced from Mendel Biotechnology Inc., into its Phase III development stage. The technology was identified and developed through a research program funded by Monsanto, designed to leverage Mendel's expertise in regulatory pathways and network biology.

The two companies have worked together for more than a decade on the development of biotechnology-based traits for Monsanto's row crops seed business, and the companies continue to collaborate to develop high-value traits.

"We are delighted that one of our traits has reached this advanced stage in Monsanto's commercial pipeline, which underscores the commercial viability and success of this project, and validates our long term R&D strategy focused on understanding gene networks that control important plant traits," said Neal Gutterson, president and CEO of Mendel. "Monsanto is the acknowledged global leader in the development and commercialization of high-value, sustainable agricultural seed products. We are very excited to be a developer and provider of trait technologies for them."

"Monsanto is committed to providing farmers with higher grain yields to help support the world's growing demand for food, feed and fuel," said Steve Padgette, Vice President of Biotechnology at Monsanto. "We are extremely pleased to see our long-term, valued collaboration with Mendel deliver an important trait into Phase III advanced commercial development."

Higher yielding soybeans, which have demonstrated 6 percent to 7 percent yield increase across three seasons of testing in 56 field environments, are expected to be an important part of our stacked soybean trait portfolio of the future, Padgette said.

"We also are excited about other Mendel genes being evaluated in our R&D pipeline," he said.

Mendel Biotechnology, Inc., has been a pioneer in the application of functional genomics to the study of plant genes. Mendel is also a pioneer for the production of dedicated energy crops critical for second generation biofuels. Mendel has identified and patented the use of genes that control many aspects of plant growth and development, and is applying these inventions to develop or co-develop new plant varieties with improved productivity and quality. Mendel has relationships with leading agricultural, energy, forestry and horticulture companies for the commercialization of improved seed and plant products, and is developing new seed and feedstock products for the emerging bioenergy market.

Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. Monsanto remains focused on enabling both small-holder and large-scale farmers to produce more from their land while conserving more of our world's natural resources such as water and energy.

SOURCE: Mendel Biotechnology, Inc. via Business Wire.