Bayer CropScience signs exclusive technology license agreement with FuturaGene

Bayer CropSciencehas entered into an exclusive global licensing agreement with plant genetic research  firm FuturaGene PLC, to use its drought tolerant cotton technology.

Under the terms of the agreement signed yesterday, Bayer CropScience gets exclusive worldwide rights to utilise the London-based FuturaGene drought tolerance technology in cotton and FuturaGene will receive an upfront license fee, followed by development milestone payments and trait royalties on sales of cotton seeds incorporating this technology. Further financial details were not disclosed.

The technology licensed to Bayer is intended to protect the yield of cotton plants when they are subjected to drought. Drought is one of the principal environmental limits of crop yield as it hampers the cultivation of crops on more than 40 per cent of the earth's land surface, posing a serious threat to global agricultural production and food supplies.

''We're pleased to be working with FuturaGene as a partner in developing next generation drought tolerance in cotton,'' said Dr. Linda Trolinder, global cotton R&D manager in the BioScience business group of Bayer CropScience. ''Their technology fits well with our strategy to explore multiple approaches to drought tolerance in order to bring the most effective, high-performance trait solutions to market to help farmers tackle this global challenge.''

Dr. Stanley Hirsch, CEO at FuturaGene, added, ''Combining our drought tolerance technology with Bayer's development and marketing capabilities creates a huge benefit for both companies as well as to farmers. This important agreement fits precisely with our development strategy - to focus on poplar and eucalyptus for the paper and pulp and biomass markets whilst licensing our leading gene technologies to global operators for other crops.''

Bayer CropScience AG, with 2008 annual sales of about €6.4 billion, is one of the world's leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of crop protection, non-agricultural pest control, seeds and plant biotechnology.

With a global workforce of more than 18,000 and operating in more than 120 countries, the Monheim am Rhein, Germany-based company offers a range of products and extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture and for non-agricultural applications.