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2-Plants: Kansas State University licences Roundup Ready technology



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TITLE:  K-State-Formed Company To Sell Roundup Ready Soybean Seed
SOURCE: AGWeb.com, USA
        http://www.agweb.com/news_show_news_article.asp?file=AgNewsArticle
        _20035141359_712&articleID=97769&newscat=GN
DATE:   May 14, 2003

------------------ archive: http://www.gene.ch/genet.html ------------------


K-State-Formed Company To Sell Roundup Ready Soybean Seed

Kansas State University is planning to launch a nonprofit company called
Wildcat Genetics that will pave the way for the sale of Roundup Ready
soybean seeds using varieties developed by K-State researchers.

The announcement comes six years after K-State signed a research
licensing agreement with Monsanto, the developer of Roundup Ready(R)
technology, which renders crops immune to the herbicide Roundup(R). The
licensing agreement allowed the university's scientists to develop
soybean varieties best suited for Kansas and incorporating the Roundup
Ready(R) technology.

"Our focus is on providing Kansas soybean producers with the best
possible crop plant varieties and on getting K-State soybean germplasm
back into production on a major scale," said Forrest Chumley, associate
director of research for K-State Research and Extension. "We are
confident that K-State genetics offers a competitive advantage for
soybean producers in our region."

Chumley said that unlike soybean varieties developed for other parts of
the country, K-State varieties have been developed with the state's
specific climatological needs in mind. However, K-State varieties have
lost favor with growers in recent years because they did not have the
popular Roundup Ready(R) trait.

"Most soybean producers in Kansas and elsewhere are planting Roundup
Ready(R) varieties, most of which were developed by major agricultural
companies. The price farmers pay for this seed includes a royalty that is
transferred to Monsanto by the retail seed companies," Chumley said. "The
new K State Roundup Ready(R) varieties will fit into this system without
noticeable changes for the farmer, other than superior crop performance."

This sort of endeavor - the formation of a nonprofit genetics wholesale
company - is new to K-State, but numerous other universities have
undertaken similar arrangements with commercial firms in efforts to
commercialize crop varieties with farmer-preferred proprietary traits, he
said.

The plans, still to be finalized, call for K-State to provide parent seed
to Wildcat Genetics. Wildcat Genetics will sell parent seed to retail
seed companies, which in turn will expand the seed and sell it to soybean
growers. The nonprofit company will work with Monsanto to obtain a parent
seed license that will allow it to obtain and sell the parent seed to
licensed retail seed companies.

The company is expected to be operational this summer. Foundation seed
will be available to seed companies in 2004, and the new varieties should
be available to growers in 2005, Chumley said.

Neither K-State nor Wildcat Genetics will make any payments to Monsanto,
he said. However, Wildcat Genetics will be paid the parent seed price
and, possibly, royalties on retail sales by the retail seed companies
distributing the new varieties. K-State will, in turn, be paid by Wildcat
Genetics for net seed sales. Wildcat Genetics will return net revenues to
K-State to support plant research and breeding programs.

Chumley said that the university does not anticipate other agreements
between Monsanto and K State in connection with Roundup Ready(R)
soybeans, but that through Wildcat Genetics, similar arrangements with
other companies are possible.