Plans to use on cannabis to develop new breeds

Israel: New collaboration to validate CRISPR genome-editing tools in plants

Merck KGaA  has signed through its Life Science division, MilliporeSigma, a unique collaboration and license agreement with an Israeli AgTech company to demonstrate the utility of its proprietary CRISPR genome-editing tools in agricultural uses. The agreement licenses its foundational CRISPR intellectual property to Israeli BetterSeeds, a company that uses genome editing technology including CRISPR to develop new breeds of plants.

“CRISPR-based integration is a fundamental tool for many genome-editing applications but has historically been exceptionally difficult to do in plants,” explained Angela Myers, Head of Gene Editing and Novel Modalitie at MilliporeSigma.

BetterSeeds plans to use MilliporeSigma’s foundational CRISPR patent estate to edit cash crops such as cowpea and cannabis in order to develop and incorporate, namely by use of gene-editing tools, game changing traits, which are currently not available in many crops due to the limitations of conventional breeding. 

“We are excited that MilliporeSigma has chosen BetterSeeds to validate their CRISPR tools in plants. Being the first AgTech company to access MillioporeSigma’s technology for plant applications will strengthen BetterSeeds’ capabilities to efficiently deliver high quality crops with better traits,” said Ido Margalit, CEO of BetterSeeds.

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