Thursday 01 December 2022

Pairwise and Tropic Biosciences sign licensing deal to utilize base editing technology for coffee and banana crops

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DURHAM, N.C., USA – Pairwise, a U.S. mission-driven food tech company that uses gene editing to develop new varieties of fruits and vegetables, and Tropic Biosciences (Tropic), a U.K. agricultural technology company focused on tropical crops, announced a deal that will grant access to base editing technologies in order to extend its game-changing potential to critically important crops with major global economic impact.

Base editing allows for precise and targeted changes to DNA and will enable Tropic to further accelerate plant breeding innovation in coffee and banana crops. Pairwise initially licensed base editing technologies from Harvard University, and has proven out the use of that technology across its portfolio, demonstrating the ability to transform and edit over 11 crops to date. The precision that base editing affords has allowed Pairwise to access traits that were not feasible with earlier editing technologies, unlocking a greater scope of natural variation found in these crops. This license agreement further extends the use of this technology to important tropical crops.

“As a mission-driven company, we believe it is imperative to forge alliances with other visionary companies who can extend our mission of building a healthier world,” said Ian Miller, Chief Development Officer of Pairwise.

“This deal with Tropic Biosciences is an important step in the development of new varieties of tropical crops upon which billions of consumers and tens of millions of smallholder farmers rely, and further demonstrates the ability of our platform technologies to solve problems across the plant-based economy.”

“Gene editing is a once-in-a-generation type of innovation, and adding this powerful suite of base editing tools to the Tropic Biosciences toolbox will further support our efforts to address pressing challenges in bananas and coffee.” said Gilad Gershon, Chief Executive Officer of Tropic. “The deal with Pairwise is exciting, and will support our mission of bringing important innovation to regions and growers who would greatly benefit from better cultivation efficiencies, and improved sustainable environmental practices.”

Today, Tropic works on the big-acre, tropical crops of bananas, coffee, and rice, using its GEiGS® technology and other advanced breeding techniques. Given the dual pressures of climate change and disease, Tropic’s work could have a profound impact on the 25 million-plus coffee and banana growers worldwide, and the 400 million people who consume bananas and one billion people globally who consume over 1 million kilograms of coffee per year.

Pairwise is currently developing new types of leafy greens, berries, and cherries for consumers in the North American marketplace. Additionally, Pairwise has a $100 million, five-year collaboration with Bayer Crop Science to advance gene editing tools in row crops. In February 2021, Pairwise raised $90 million in a successful series B funding round, bringing total fundraising to $115 million when combined with the series A funding round. In three years, the company has grown to over 130 employees with additional anticipated growth in 2022.

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