Seed World

Verdeca Receives USDA Approval of HB4 Drought Tolerant Soybeans

Verdeca, a joint venture between Arcadia Biosciences and Bioceres Crop Solutions, announced it has successfully completed the regulatory review process and received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its HB4 drought tolerant soybeans, which will allow for commercialization in the U.S. market. The approval comes two years after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of Verdeca’s HB4 trait in 2017.

The HB4 stack is Verdeca’s newest product release from its pipeline of traits developed to benefit soybean producers through quality improvement, stress mitigation and management practices.

“HB4 is a novel soybean trait that enhances the traditional herbicide tolerance package to provide yield stability across diverse environments,” says Martin Mariani Ventura, general manager of Verdeca. “Approval of this technology in the United States is a significant step for the successful commercialization of HB4 technology in the global soybean market.”

With USDA approval, the HB4 trait now has regulatory approval in more than 80 percent of the global soybean market. The HB4 trait has already been approved in Argentina and Brazil, with regulatory submissions currently under consideration by China, Paraguay, Bolivia and Uruguay. Import approval from China is needed for commercial launch in Argentina, and is now expected in 2020.

More than 30 million of the world’s soybean hectares are grown in the United States. While the 2019 growing season has challenged many U.S. soybean growers with too much water, key soybean production areas, including some areas within the United States , just last year suffered reduced yields due to water and heat stress.

“Trials in Argentina have shown a positive impact of the HB4 trait stack on soybeans there,” says Raj Ketkar, president and CEO of Arcadia Biosciences. “The USDA and FDA approvals are important steps in our continued drive to commercialize this trait in key markets.”

“This approval in the U.S. is an important step for Verdeca. The HB4 trait was recently approved by Brazil as well, and we now expect approval in China in 2020 to launch our commercial efforts in Argentina,” says Federico Trucco, CEO of Bioceres Crop Solutions.

Arcadia Biosciences and Bioceres Crop Solutions formed Verdeca in 2012 to deploy next-generation soybean traits in all key production regions, beginning in South America and North America, which together represent nearly 80 percent of the harvested soybean hectares globally.