Seed World

KWS and Origin Agritech Announce Commercial Biotech Trait and Corn Germplasm License Agreement


Origin Agritech Ltd., an agricultural biotechnology trait and seed provider, announced today that the company has entered into a commercial biotechnology trait and corn germplasm license agreement with KWS SAAT SE (KWS), one of the world’s leading plant breeding and seed companies. This agreement facilitates KWS’ entry into China’s corn biotechnology trait and expanded seed market.

Under the agreement, Origin will combine insect resistance and herbicide tolerance traits co-developed by the Chinese Academy of Agriculture Sciences and Origin Agritech into KWS corn inbred lines. Biotech-enhanced corn is planned to be deployed upon Chinese commercial and regulatory approval. Future biotech-enhanced versions of these products will also be made available to KWS to serve Chinese farmers.

“KWS has been a strong strategic partner in the development of Origin’s new insect resistant and herbicide tolerant traits, and this agreement is a key milestone for our company,” says Bill Niebur, CEO, Origin Agritech. “This collaboration enables Origin to deliver the value of the new traits when integrated into the strong genetics of KWS. We believe that the deployment envisaged by this and previous agreements could provide Origin’s technology greater access to the future biotech corn market, which we estimate could become a $1 billion market opportunity.”

KWS has 160 years of plant breeding history, a 70-country footprint and a strong reputation in China.

“We are happy about the opportunity to combine Origin’s traits with KWS genetics to develop highly performing insect resistant and herbicide tolerant seed varieties which would be of high value for the Chinese farmer,” says Gyula Szelle, head of East-SE Asia Corn and Oilcrops at KWS. “It will continue to be our ambition to offer our high-quality corn seed to the Chinese market through our affiliates and licensees there and with regard to future policies.”

Aligned with the goals of the China Ministry of Agriculture, Origin will continue to support the advancement of agricultural biotechnology. The recent 13th Five Year Plan released by the Chinese government pushes for accelerated development of biotech crops, emphasizing insect control for maize and herbicide tolerance for soybeans.

“We are committed to modernizing China’s agriculture system and improving the country’s food security,” Niebur says. “Our partnership and commercial agreement with KWS will advance Origin’s mission of providing agricultural solutions for today’s growing world through being the preferred partner for and from China in biotechnology.”