Seed World

PlantArcBio Receives USDA/APHIS Regulatory Exemption


PlantArcBio announced that it received final confirmation that its HPPD herbicide tolerant soybean and cotton products are exempt from USDA regulatory oversight as similar products have already been fully evaluated and deregulated.

This exemption is a significant step for PlantArcBio and for its potential partners, as it dramatically shortens the time and reduces the costs associated with bringing novel HPPD tolerant soybean and cotton solutions to farmers. Without this exemption, the regulatory process could add years and tens of millions USD to commercialize such a product.

“This marks a real regulatory and commercial breakthrough for PlantArcBio, as it is our first gene that will be available for commercial sale in the US,” said Dror Shalitin, PlantArcBio’s CEO. “We expect that this will bring us new strategic customers who can now improve their seeds using our gene without the need for undergoing a long and costly regulatory process. The gene was discovered using PlantArcBio’s unique gene discovery technology, Direct In Plant (DIP), reinforcing our ability to discover desired traits to enhance yields for some of the world’s major crops.”

Weeds are considered the most notorious pests for crops as they can significantly decrease yield by at least 50%, if not treated. Today many of the major crops, such as corn, soybean, cotton, and canola, possess resistance to herbicides, such as Roundup (Glyphosate), given its overwhelming adoption in countries like North America, South America and Australia. Therefore, use of Roundup herbicide is declining due to the resistance that some weeds have developed to that herbicide after 50 years of use.

Now more than ever, there is an urgent need to find replacement herbicides to control resistant and hard to control weeds, and the HPPD inhibitor herbicides are attractive candidates. These are mainly used today in crops such as corn and rice, which are naturally tolerant.

Once soybean and cotton plants carry PlantArcBio’s discovered gene, they will be resistant to HPPD inhibitor herbicides, and farmers will have the ability to spray and control weeds impacting crop yield.

“PlantArcBio is one of the first companies to achieve a USDA exemption for its novel discovered gene in crops and soon farmers will have a new attractive offering for managing their weeds,” said Limor Davidson Mund, business development manager at PlantArcBio, “With the successful advancement of our technology, we are now joining large multinational seed companies, Bayer and Syngenta, who previously received regulatory clearance for use of their HPPD tolerance genes in soybean and cotton. Effective and sustainable weed control tools continue to be a critical need in crops, and our novel tool holds great commercial promise in this fight, especially in soybean and cotton.”

According to USDA publications, during 2020, more than 33 million hectares were planted with Soybean in the US, and total value of production was $46.1 billion.

Cotton was planted in 4.8 million hectares in 2020, with value of production reaching $4.7 billion.