ToolGen툴젠, a local genome engineering company, has signed a global license agreement with Monsanto, a global seed company, for the patent application of the new genome-editing tool called Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR).
CRISPR is widely used in life sciences because it acts like a pair of molecular scissors capable of cutting strands of DNA and selectively correct specific genetic information in cells as a critical tool in gene correction technology.
In the field of agriculture, CRISPR has been attracting attention as a technology that enables safe and efficient cultivar development, and a variety of new types are actively developed based on this technology.
|Monsanto Vice-President Tom Adams (right) and ToolGen CEO Kim Jong-moon hold their contract.|
Monsanto is reportedly planning to use CRISPR from ToolGen to develop major crops such as corn, soybeans, and cotton.
Monsanto originally started as a chemical company, but after making a full-scale entry into the agricultural sector in the 1990s, it focused on seed development and grew into a global seed company with a market capitalization of 52 billion won. In 2016, Monsanto's sales totaled $15 billion (18 trillion won), with more than 40 percent of the world's grain crops known to have been developed or seed patented by Monsanto.
The two companies have applied in 10 countries, including the United States, Europe, and Japan, and confirmed its competitiveness through the Korean registration and the Australian approval last year.
"As the plant-growing environment such as climate change, pest management, and natural resource conditions changes, the need for a variety of seeds is increasing, but the existing seed development methods have not been able to meet these demands,” said Tom Adams, vice-president of Monsanto. “However, CRISPR is highly efficient and will allow us to develop a variety of seeds that meet the needs of farmers in a short time.”
His Korean counterpart agreed. "We are pleased to conclude a licensing agreement with Monsanto, one of the world's leading agricultural sectors, to provide CRISPR,” said Kim Jong-moon김종문, chief executive of ToolGen. "This agreement is meaningful as an opportunity to demonstrate the excellence of our gene scissors technology globally, and we will continue to work with various global partners, including Monsanto, to sharpen competitiveness."
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