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Kultevat, Inc. and Sumitomo Rubber Industries enter into a research agreement to develop environmentally friendly source of natural rubber.
Date:8/10/2015

ST. LOUIS, Aug. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Kultevat, Inc. a biotechnology company in St. Louis, MO and Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Kobe, Japan (SRI) have entered into an R & D agreement to accelerate the development of Taraxicum kok-saghya (TKS) as an alternative source of natural rubber to replace materials from Hevea rubber trees.  Kultevat is developing and testing new varieties of TKS for increased productivity of rubber in greenhouse and field trials in the US through a partnership with Keygene Inc.,(Wageningen, Netherlands), an advanced plant breeding company. The agreement with SRI will accelerate the breeding effort and the selection of varieties that have specific traits that meet the goals of SRI to develop proprietary products that reduce the environmental impacts of rubber production and refinement. 

Unlike Hevea rubber trees, TKS can be grown in temperate regions around the globe, including in North America.  Kultevat's goals include increasing the yield of rubber from cultivation of highly productive varieties of TKS in multiple locations in North America, and developing green technologies for extraction of product from plant tissues.  The Sumitomo Rubber Industries has committed an undisclosed amount of funding for the joint research on TKS (sometimes referred to as Russian dandelions) to promote the better use of natural resources while, in the future, enabling SRI to secure a reliable and efficient supply of natural raw materials at production bases around the world. "We expect that development of TKS as an economically viable source of rubber will allow SRI to provide a steady supply of high-performance tires with low environmental impact to a greater number of customers in the future," said President, Ikuji Ikeda Sumitomo Rubber Industries.

"Kultevat's commercialization strategy calls for the company to sell into specialty rubber markets at the outset while the company continues working with the Sumitomo Rubber Industries to develop products for their purposes," Daniel R. Swiger, CEO of Kultevat said. "We have engaged a number of customers and are currently growing TKS for processing and rubber for prototype and testing purposes.  We expect commercial sales of rubber beginning in 2016."

About Kultevat

Kultevat is a privately held company headquartered in St. Louis, MO. Kultevat serves sustainable agricultural markets, primarily by the production of rubber and mixed sugar feedstocks for the biofuels market. Kultevat has vast experience in the commercial utilization of plant materials to develop profitable, sustainable, and environmentally benign sources of rubber, while simultaneously supplying the biofuels industry. Kultevat serves to reduce near-total dependence on foreign sources of rubber globally. Visit www.kultevat.com.  

Kultevat's partner in crop breeding is  

KeyGene The crop innovation company KeyGene is a privately owned Ag Biotech company with a primary focus on crop innovation.  KeyGene's approach is to enable molecular genetics for the future of global agriculture.  KeyGene supports its strategic partners with cutting edge breeding technologies, bioinformatics and plant-based trait platforms, with more than 135 employees from all over the world.  KeyGene has sites in Wageningen, the Netherlands and in Rockville, USA. Visit www.keygene.com.

About Sumitomo Rubber Industries

Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd. is a Japan-based tire manufacturer. The Company operates in multiple business segments: The Tire segment manufactures and sells tires and tubes for automobiles, construction vehicles, industrial vehicles, race rallies and motorcycles, under the brand names DUNLOP and FALKEN and others. In addition, SRI has a Sports Division for the manufacture and sale of sports items, including golf clubs, golf balls and other golf-related supplies, and tennis supplies as well as the operation of golf tournaments, golf and tennis schools and fitness center. As of December 31, 2014, the Company had 85 subsidiaries, 12 associated companies and one affiliated company. Visit www.srigroup.co.jp/english/

Contact: Daniel Swiger, 1-760-315-2839, dan@kultevat.com

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