SemBioSys Genetics Inc. (TSX:SBS) today announced that it has entered into an exclusive commercial license agreement with Instituto de Agrobiotecnologia Rosario S.A. (INDEAR). The agreement pertains to the commercialization and supply of SemBioSys' safflower-produced chymosin, a protein used in the manufacture of food products. INDEAR signed an option agreement with SemBioSys in January 2008 to evaluate the utility of using SemBioSys' plant-based technology for the production of chymosin.
In exchange for an upfront technology access fee, SemBioSys has granted INDEAR an exclusive royalty-bearing license to SemBioSys' technology in Argentina. INDEAR will use SemBioSys' technology to extract chymosin from modified safflower seeds and sell the protein for use in the manufacture of cheese in Argentina. Under the terms of the agreement, SemBioSys has granted INDEAR a time-limited right of first refusal to expand the territory beyond Argentina. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
"Chymosin is one of the first transgenic products developed by SemBioSys. INDEAR is an ideal partner to work with us to launch the product," said James Szarko, President and CEO of SemBioSys. "This transaction is an example of SemBioSys' strategy to partner existing non-pharmaceutical programs to accelerate commercialization without deviating from our core areas of focus: the development of Biosimilar Insulin and Apo AI(Milano). This commercialization agreement is another validation of SemBioSys' platform technology as a versatile, scalable, and cost effective protein production system. It also helps to secure future revenue streams based on our non-pharmaceutical products."
Chymosin is a natural protein, historically derived from calves, used in the production of cheese. The majority of chymosin used today is produced via fermentation in E. coli or fungi. Using its proprietary plant expression system, SemBioSys has developed animal-free, kosher-quality chymosin and an extraction process that will allow for the production of chymosin in plants at a significantly reduced cost.