BASF Plant Science and China’s National Institute of Biological Sciences (NIBS) have announced a cooperation and licensing agreement in biotechnology. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.
‘Asia is emerging as a key player in plant biotechnology both in research and cultivation and we are striving to intensify partnerships in this dynamic region,’ said Dr Hans Kast, president and CEO of BASF Plant Science. ‘Europe, on the contrary, is losing its competitiveness due to slow and contradictory political decisions.’
The agreement is BASF Plant Science’s first in China and focuses on increasing the yield of stable crops such as corn, soybeans and rice. Under the agreement NIBS retains the right to market crops in China and BASF obtains the exclusive rights to develop and commercialise transgenic crops with the discovered genes outside China.
NIBS has identified a family of genes that have shown to increase crop yield. As part of the agreement the institute will further analyse the detailed functions of the genes before they enter the BASF Plant Science research and development pipeline.
‘Discoveries in yield increase like those made by NIBS will help meet booming worldwide demand for food and feed,’ added Kast.
Demand for animal feed has dramatically increased in China. Rising living standards have caused a 300 per cent increase in meat consumption in the past 20 years whilst the amount of arable land has been reduced due to factors such as increasing urbanisation.