BASF and Corteva Agriscience have announced a long-term collaboration to develop new soybean weed control solutions for farmers around the world.

Both companies agreed to cross-license soybean traits, while developing complementary herbicide technologies, enabling both companies to offer innovative soybean weed management solutions. Through the collaboration, BASF and Corteva aim to meet farmers' demand for tailored weed control options differentiated from those on the market or in development. As a result, the companies anticipate a spark in novel product offers with increased access to the global US$7.1 billion soybean seeds and traits market, as well as the US$5 billion soybean herbicide market. The first market introduction is planned in North America with additional geographies to follow.

Corteva will combine a proprietary protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO) gene licensed from BASF with its portfolio of herbicide tolerant traits, including Corteva's proprietary 2,4-D choline gene, to develop a new trait stack for soybeans. The stack will include tolerance to four herbicide modes of action, or distinct mechanisms to achieve control. Together, they will provide a new, effective and flexible option to help control the most problematic weeds. This innovative herbicide tolerance stack is expected to be available in all Corteva seed brands. Corteva has licensed the stack to BASF for use in BASF seed brands and also anticipates licensing the trait stack to additional seed companies.

The new soybean trait stack coming from the cooperation will include tolerance to both BASF and Corteva herbicides: BASF's Liberty® (glufosinate-ammonium), Corteva's Enlist® herbicides (2,4-D choline with Colex-D® technology) and BASF's PPO inhibiting herbicides, Kixor® and Tirexor®, as well as a new PPO inhibiting herbicide under development by BASF. The stack will also include tolerance to glyphosate. The agreement allows both companies the opportunity to recommend the other's herbicide solutions to help ensure farmers have the tools best suited to effectively manage weeds.

"This cooperation is a milestone for us to expand our position in the soybean market," said Dr. Peter Eckes, president (R&D) and regulatory of BASF Agricultural Solutions. "The trait collaboration with Corteva harnesses each of our strengths and allows both companies to maximise value creation in our respective seed brands and industry-leading herbicide pipeline."

"We are pleased to work with BASF to bring important new innovations to soybean farmers," said Dr. Sam Eathington, executive vice president, chief technology and digital officer, at Corteva Agriscience. "Delivering additional sustainable options for weed control will add value to the Enlist® weed control system, the fastest-growing herbicide-tolerant system in soybeans."

The first launch of soybean varieties with the new trait stack is expected in the early 2030s in North America, pending regulatory reviews and completion of field testing. Both companies are exploring opportunities in additional regions where biotechnology crops are cultivated.

While separate and distinct, this broad cooperation complements the companies' recent announcement to develop Enlist®E3 soybeans with BASF's nematode resistant soybean (NRS) trait.

Additional value expected from further development of soybean trait stack for new herbicide mode of action

Longer-term agreements between BASF and Corteva are also in place to develop an additional soybean trait package that includes tolerance to BASF's Liberty and PPO inhibiting herbicides, Corteva's Enlist® herbicides, glyphosate and another, entirely new herbicide mode of action under development at BASF.

BASF will also develop a new trait stack for soybeans for tolerance to five herbicide groups, including the cross-licensed 2,4-D choline gene from Corteva, offering growers unprecedented control of resistant weeds. This longer-term approach from both companies will provide competitive alternatives for soybean farmers well into the 2040s.
 

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