Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) and Dow AgroSciences LLC, a subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW), have reached new cross-licensing agreements for creation of the next generation of advanced weed and insect control technology in corn. Monsanto will license Dow AgroSciences’ new Enlist™ Weed Control System herbicide-tolerant trait for use in field corn. Dow AgroSciences will license Monsanto’s third generation corn rootworm technology, Corn Rootworm III, which is presently under development by Monsanto and offers a new mode of action for rootworm control. The agreement paves the way for introduction (pending regulatory approvals) of next-generation products that build off the current SmartStax platform, which includes Dow’s Herculex and Monsanto’s insect resistance and herbicide-tolerance traits. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
These technologies are expected to be introduced in each company’s respective elite, proprietary germplasm and sold competitively by both companies as next-generation weed and insect control products. The agreements build on the competitive standard set by SmartStax* for stacked-trait corn offerings in providing added value for farmers in their ongoing need to secure higher yields despite wide-ranging pressures from damaging pests. This creates the opportunity to bring together for the first time three different modes of action for below-ground insect control in a corn product.
Stacked trait products are particularly valuable for combating pest resistance and preserving trait durability. Weed resistance is also a challenge facing agriculture, and Enlist is a next-generation system that combines innovative traits providing tolerance to 2,4-D and FOPs, novel herbicides and stewardship, offering two modes of action for weed control to deliver performance that farmers need now. Monsanto is the first licensee of the Enlist trait in corn.
“This agreement takes the outstanding value offered by SmartStax technology to a new level, allowing growers increased flexibility with highly effective new modes of action for weed and insect management,” said Antonio Galindez, Dow AgroSciences president and CEO. “Adding advanced new traits to SmartStax – including our Enlist corn trait – delivers on our company’s business objective of providing better solutions for the growing world.”
“This agreement builds on the success we had with the original SmartStax agreement, showing that as both companies innovate, we’ll continue to bring the best products to farmers,” said Brett Begemann, Monsanto’s president and chief commercial officer. “We continue to look for additional modes of action that offer benefit to our farmer customers and complement our existing offerings while ensuring the sustainability and durability of the Roundup Ready system. Dow’s Enlist trait is an excellent addition, specifically in its FOPs tolerance offering. We’re also pleased this paves the way to make Monsanto’s Corn Rootworm III trait available in SmartStax in the future as well as in Dow’s corn products.”
Under the agreements:
Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences will license to each other, under royalty-bearing agreements, traits for weed control as well as insect protection in corn. Specifically:
- Dow AgroSciences will license to Monsanto its proprietary Enlist corn herbicide-tolerant trait on a non-exclusive basis.
- Monsanto will license to Dow its third generation corn rootworm technology, Corn Rootworm III, on a non-exclusive basis.
- The agreement paves the way for U.S. introduction (pending regulatory approvals) of new, next-generation SmartStax products by the end of the decade.
- Monsanto will represent both parties for joint third-party licensing of the next-generation SmartStax corn to third-party seed companies through its Corn States business, allowing farmers access to cutting edge technology in the brands they prefer.
- Dow AgroSciences will out-license the rights to the Enlist trait technology.
- Both parties will retain the right to independently stack additional trait technologies.
* As currently sold, SmartStax corn includes Dow AgroSciences’ above- and below-ground insect resistance traits, Herculex I and Herculex RW, and glufosinate herbicide tolerance trait; Bayer Crop Sciences’ LibertyLink; and Monsanto’s above- and below-ground insect resistance traits YieldGard VT Rootworm/RR2 and YieldGard VT PRO as well as Monsanto’s Roundup Ready glyphosate tolerance trait.