Vilmorin and KWS join efforts in GM corn trait development

(Einbeck,†25†October†2011/No.†55/ho) Vilmorin and KWS have decided to join their efforts in developing GM corn traits. Both parties have reached agreement to organize this research collaboration in a 50/50 joint venture company, subject to approval by the antitrust authorities.

With GM corn being increasingly cultivated in many parts of the world, Vilmorin and KWS focus on gatekeeper traits that are already under development (herbicide and insect resistance), as well as on other innovative traits that will allow each partner to commercialize proprietary GM corn seeds to satisfy demands in specific key markets. For both companies genetic engineering has become more and more a standard method in plant breeding. Consequently KWS and Vilmorin decided to intensify their respective research activities in this area.

“With 148 million hectares of GM crops being planted globally, of which 30% in corn, this is a high value market with progressive growth. We wish to develop proprietary technologies that can strengthen our development in potential GM markets like Europe and Asia. In other markets, in addition to our current GM traits for corn† – which are licensed in from partners –† we want to create complementary solutions for our customers”, Philip von dem Bussche, CEO of KWS stated.

“This joint research platform with KWS, with whom we already have a successful 50/50 AgReliant partnership in North America, will allow us to share costs, speed up developments and possibly broaden the scope to other innovative technologies that meet the demands of farmers globally. Both partners are ready and interested to place the new traits at the disposal of other companies also in combination with other traits available on the market” said Emmanuel Rougier, CEO of Vilmorin.

The research work will be executed in the facilities of KWS and Vilmorin as well as by third parties. First products on the market are expected not earlier than in four years.

About KWS

KWS†is one of the world's leading plant breeding companies. More than 3500 employees in 70†countries generate in the fiscal 2010/11 net sales of approx. €830 million. Main areas of its work are the breeding of varieties and the production and sale of seed for sugar beet, corn, cereals, potatoes, oil-seed rape and sunflower for the temperate climates. 15†% of its annual sales is invested in research and development. KWS uses state-of-the-art plant breeding methods and technologies to continuously improve variety yields and resistance to diseases, pests and abiotic stress. Further information on KWS is available online at

About Vilmorin

As the world’s fourth largest seed company, Vilmorin develops vegetable and field seeds with high added value, to better meet global food requirements.

True to its vision of sustainable development, Vilmorin relies on ongoing investments in research and international growth to strengthen its market shares. An ambition that is driven by its “Cultivating the taste of life” philosophy which is based on the sharing of knowledge, the quality of life and the respect for the needs of mankind. Further information on Vilmorin will be available online at


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