Monsanto is partnering with an ag startup, Pairwise Plants, that studies gene editing technology. According to the agreement, Pairwise will work with Monsanto exclusively on corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton and canola crops. The collaboration and licensing agreement calls for a $100 million contribution from Monsanto to gain access to and develop Pairwise intellectual property in row crop application. This includes the option to commercialize any products from this collaboration. Pairwise uses “foundational” gene editing intellectual property and has licensed programmable base editing technology from Harvard University. It will be developing new gene editing applications to use in its collaboration with Monsanto. Pairwise will develop its own new crop varieties while collaborating with agricultural and food companies.
Monsanto Growth Ventures (the venture capital arm of Monsanto) and Deerfield Management recently closed $25 million in Series A financing to Pairwise. “Human health care has long pioneered gene-related treatments, successfully advancing responses to our most systemic disease challenges,” says Haven Baker, Pairwise chief business officer. Pairwise and our partners believe the same is possible for agriculture.”