Ceres, Inc. (Nasdaq: CERE), an agricultural biotechnology company, has been awarded a U.S. patent for a genetic sequence derived from soybean, covering uses of the gene in areas such as research, product development and plant transformation. The company believes that its gene is useful in regulating key biosynthetic processes that are the target of a class of commercial herbicides. Ceres plans to offer other seed companies a commercial license to the innovation, including an opportunity for exclusivity in certain crops.
Richard Hamilton, President and CEO of Ceres, said that the company is currently evaluating the potential market for this gene among soybean seed companies and the use of its patented invention in the development and production of improved soybean varieties.
Ceres' biotechnology platform, which has proven to increase crop productivity, raise quality, reduce crop inputs and improve cultivation on marginal land, has broad application across multiple markets and crops.
Hamilton noted that growers are facing increasing demand for food, feed, fiber and fuel as a result of rising global population and an expanding middle class in certain regions. "The need for technology improvements has become more pressing due to stresses from climate variability and competition for water resources," said Hamilton. "Agricultural biotechnology has and will continue to represent a significant source of innovation for increasing crop yields through improving performance of seeds."
The new patent for this invention was issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as U.S. Patent No. 9,024,004 and is titled, Sequence-Determined DNA Fragments Encoding Acetohydroxyacid Synthase Proteins. Ceres owns or maintains exclusive licensed rights to approximately 85 issued patents and numerous pending patent applications in the United States and in various foreign jurisdictions. A patent is an intellectual property right granted by a government to an inventor to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention for a limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted.
Soybean is one of the most valuable and widely planted row crops in the world. From 2003 to 2013, the number of acres planted increased 2.4% annually, to 275 million acres today, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Soybeans are used for oil, feed for livestock and aquaculture, as a biofuel feedstock and as a protein for the human diet.
SOURCE Ceres, Inc.