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FuturaGene Secures License to CRISPR-Cas9 Technology to Develop Sustainable Varieties of Eucalyptus with Improved Productivity, Stress Resistance and Fiber Quality

·2-min read

Agreement with Corteva Agriscience and Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard grants FuturaGene access to gene editing technology to research and develop varieties of eucalyptus that are adapted to climate change

SAO PAULO, Brazil, December 08, 2021--(BUSINESS WIRE)--FuturaGene, a wholly owned subsidiary of world-leading eucalyptus pulp producer, Suzano, will use patented genome editing technology from global pure-play agriculture company, Corteva Agriscience, and non-profit research organization, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, to develop new, improved eucalyptus varieties.

FuturaGene intends to apply the gene editing technology to research and develop new varieties of eucalyptus that are more productive, resistant to diseases and pests and have improved fiber properties. In addition, the company aims for the new varieties to be more resilient to climate change and to serve as an alternative to products derived from fossil fuels. FuturaGene has the option to convert the worldwide research license to cover commercial applications.

Dr. Stanley Hirsch, CEO of FuturaGene, commented: "With our extensive experience and growing pipeline, FuturaGene is well placed to apply gene editing technology from our licensors to develop eucalyptus varieties that can help the world meet the growing demand for renewable wood-based products. This includes fibers and the potential to replace carbon-intensive fossil fuel-based materials, such as plastics, in a sustainable way.

"Our ability to share the benefits of this major enabling technology with small farmers within our supply chain, royalty free, was an important part of our negotiations with the licensors. This commitment is strongly aligned with Suzano’s sustainability goal to mitigate income inequality and help lift people out of poverty. FuturaGene has always seen shared value as a vital part of our purpose".

The multi-institutional license covers CRISPR-Cas9 patent rights owned by a collection of leading universities and institutes.

The licensed genome editing technology gives scientists the ability to edit an organism's DNA by altering and silencing genes or adding genetic material at specific locations in a highly targeted way. This can potentially be used to change wood properties, ablate susceptibilities to disease or chemical agents, or select for and instill desirable traits. The technology therefore has huge potential in forestry to help farmers optimize productivity.

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About FuturaGene

FuturaGene is a leader in plant genetic research and development for increasing productivity and resilience in the global renewable forestry sector. With facilities in Brazil and Israel, the company develops sustainable, ecologically sound technology to meet the ever-increasing demands for fiber, alternatives to fossil fuel-based products such as plastics and energy crops in the face of declining land and water resources and climate change. In April 2015, FuturaGene became the first company in the world to obtain regulatory approval to commercially deploy a yield enhanced genetically modified eucalyptus variety. Since July 2010, FuturaGene has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Suzano S.A., the world’s leading eucalyptus pulp producer and one of Latin America’s largest paper producers.

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For additional information please contact:
Sara El Kadri
+55 11 997398249
Global Communications and Public Affairs Manager, FuturaGene

Agnes Stephens
+44 207 457 2002
Media relations, Instinctif Partners

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