Canada, the world’s largest flax producer, is looking to maintain its dominance. Growers want the economic advantages of a roundup-resistant variety without jeopardizing sales into the European Union. The E.U. accounts for 60% of Canadian flax exports, but genetically-modified crops face continued resistance in many E.U. countries.
Cibus’ technology is a targeted mutagenesis approach that “harnesses the natural DNA repair system in plant cells.” According to the Flax Council’s press release, the technology is exempted under the E.U. Directive on GMOs and is classified as “non-transgenic” by the USDA. Of course, regulatory compliance in the E.U. does not guarantee political or commercial success.
Two interesting take-aways from a commercialization perspective:
- $4 million of the $5.5 million paying for the Flax Council’s half of the project comes from the Canadian Government’s Developing Innovative Agri-Products program (DIAP). It is unusual for federally-funded development programs to flow so readily to projects executed outside the country.
- Revenues from developed products would be split between the Flax Council and Cibus.
The project aims to
bear fruit generate a commercial seed product by 2015.
Re-posted from the Cross-Border Biotech Blog
Jeremy Grushcow is a Foreign Legal Consultant practising corporate law at Ogilvy Renault LLP. He has a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology. His practice focuses on life science and technology companies.