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DuPont and Arzeda Collaborate to Develop Improved Crops to Increase Productivity

Custom Enzyme Design Technology to Bring More Options to Global Agriculture

Des Moines, Iowa and Seattle, Wash. (Vocus) July 13, 2009 -- DuPont and Arzeda Corp. today announced a technology collaboration to develop new traits to increase agricultural productivity.

Under the agreement, DuPont business Pioneer Hi-Bred will use novel enzymes designed by Arzeda to develop next generation seed traits in crops of worldwide agricultural importance such as corn, soybeans, rice, cotton and canola.

"Arzeda's tools are a perfect fit with our gene shuffling technology to enable the development of industry-leading products to increase productivity for our customers worldwide," said John Bedbrook, DuPont vice president - Agriculture & Nutrition Research and Development. "We are pleased to work with Arzeda, the industry leader in protein engineering and designing enzymes with novel activities."

Arzeda will use its proprietary computational protein design technology to custom-design novel enzymes that catalyze specific biological reactions that are of commercial importance to Pioneer. Pioneer will use its expertise in crop molecular biology and biotechnology, including its proprietary trait enhancing tool-gene shuffling, to incorporate these traits into seed products to meet the global demand for agricultural products.

The agreement provides Pioneer with exclusive rights to traits resulting from the collaboration. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

"This is our first corporate collaboration, and we are delighted that it is with DuPont, a company that has attained leadership in its global businesses by emphasizing the application of technology to achieve better solutions," said Michael Martino, Arzeda's CEO.

Added David Baker, one of Arzeda's founders and professor of biochemistry at the University of Washington, "I'm very pleased and excited to see technology developed in my lab applied to the pressing global problem of agricultural productivity."

Arzeda's groundbreaking technology integrates the power of chemical catalysis, the high selectivity of biological macromolecules, and the speed of computational design to rapidly design and screen novel enzymes that don't exist in nature and are currently inaccessible using traditional enzyme engineering approaches. Arzeda was founded by David Baker and three senior members of his lab to commercialize and further develop its computational enzyme design technology. Arzeda's team includes the inventors of the platform and brings more than 20 years of combined experience in the field of computational and experimental protein engineering.

Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, is the world's leading source of customized solutions for farmers, livestock producers and grain and oilseed processors. With headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, Pioneer provides access to advanced plant genetics in nearly 70 countries.

DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.

Julie Kenney

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Source: PRWeb
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