Source: Arcadia Biosciences

Arcadia Biosciences announced it has reached a research and commercial development agreement with Targeted Growth, Inc., for the development of herbicide-tolerant wheat.

Under terms of the license, Targeted Growth receives exclusive global rights to the use of Arcadia's herbicide-tolerant wheat plants developed through advanced genetic screening technology. Arcadia receives an upfront payment, milestone payments and a share of commercial sales.

Herbicide-tolerant crops enable farmers to increase crop yields by using herbicides to control weeds while not harming the crops themselves. The use of herbicide-tolerant crops also allows farmers to use no-till farming, a practice that minimizes runoff of nutrient-rich topsoil and reduces the amount of greenhouse gas emitted from tilling soil. Herbicide-tolerant crops can help reduce overall herbicide use and shift usage to low toxicity herbicides. While herbicide-tolerant crops have been in cultivation since 1995, herbicide-tolerant wheat is not yet commercially available. Arcadia has made significant achievements in the development of herbicide-resistant wheat using an advanced technique that screens large populations of plants for difficult-to-find genetic variations.

"Herbicide-resistant crops deliver a distinct benefit to growers and to the environment by increasing crop yields and reducing the need to till the soil," said Eric Rey, president and CEO of Arcadia. "Considering that wheat is the world's largest acreage crop and that herbicide-resistant varieties are not yet commercially available, we see a significant opportunity to help wheat growers increase farm yields and profitability while minimizing overall environmental impact. And, by using Arcadia's genetic screening technology to develop new wheat varieties, we can offer farmers additional choices based upon their seed preferences."

"Targeted Growth has made exciting advances in the areas of molecular breeding and other advanced agricultural technology tools," Ray added. "This expertise combined with the progress we've made with respect to genetic screening technology can expedite the process of making commercially available herbicide-resistant wheat a reality."

"We've been very successful in leveraging our technology to increase agricultural crop yields," said Tom Todaro, CEO of Targeted Growth. "A herbicide-tolerant wheat coupled with increased yield would provide a valuable product set for wheat farmers around the world."

"Arcadia is very good at matching the right tools with individual plant improvement goals in a way that shortens development timeframes, minimizes development costs and reaches the desired outcomes," said Dr. David Collier, managing director of CMEA Capital, an investor in Arcadia. "In the case of herbicide-tolerant wheat, Arcadia has reached major milestones using an advanced screening technology and traditional breeding. Since the technique used to develop herbicide-tolerant wheat simply identifies genetic variation in plant populations, it does not require regulatory oversight and can make these new varieties available sooner than if they had been developed using some other techniques."