Benson Hill Biosystems and CTC Achieve Commercial Partnership Milestone
The Leading Brazilian Sugarcane Company Employing Benson Hill’s Technology to Increase Photosynthesis
ST. LOUIS—March 22, 2017—Benson Hill Biosystems, an agricultural technology company unlocking the genetic potential of plants through big data analytics and cloud computing, today announced the achievement of a milestone in its partnership with Centro de Tecnologia Canavieira (CTC), a market leader in Brazilian sugarcane, to develop and commercialize traits to increase crop yield. Benson Hill’s CropOS™ cognitive computational platform and proprietary Setaria viridis model plant system have been used to successfully validate multiple product candidates in this model crop.
CTC is one of the largest research and development institutions focused on sugarcane production, a crop of immense economic importance to the Brazilian bioenergy sector and to worldwide sugar production. CTC and Benson Hill began a partnership in 2014 to develop and commercialize novel traits to enhance photosynthesis and crop biomass, augmenting all principle commodities of the sugarcane sector simultaneously including sugar content, straw yield and ethanol production. Today’s announcement represents the completion of the first phase of this partnership through the successful utilization of Benson Hill’s platform and approach as a potential tool to accelerate product development.
“The rigor of Benson Hill’s CropOS system and ability to evaluate selected genes in the model crop Setaria viridis increases the probability of success in sugarcane since the photosynthetic systems of the two plants are very similar,” said William Burnquist, director of R&D at CTC. “We are pleased to have achieved this milestone in our partnership and will soon move forward to the next phase of validating the genes’ efficacy in sugarcane.”
Benson Hill’s CropOS platform combines vast datasets and biological knowledge with scalable cloud-based computing—an intersection of disciplines known as cloud biology—to predict biological outcomes for any target in any crop using any genomics tools, from breeding to gene editing to transgenics. CropOS coupled with its proprietary Setaria viridis crop model system accelerates identification of promising product candidates for rapid advancement into product development, increasing confidence of success and speed to market.
“With CTC’s support, our team and technology have identified leads that demonstrate significant biomass improvement in a relevant crop model and that have the potential to increase the yield and sustainability of the sugarcane crop,” said Mohammed Oufattole, vice president of R&D at Benson Hill Biosystems. “Now, CTC will focus on validating these leads in sugarcane in order to mobilize this technology for the benefit of its growers. Through cloud biology, even the most complex targets such as photosynthesis can be advanced with greater speed and efficiency and for a fraction of historical costs, enabling players of any size in any market to innovate.”
About CTC – Centro de Tecnologia Canavieira
CTC is recognized as the largest sugarcane technology center in Brazil and one of the most renowned in the world. The center develops innovative research in all aspects of the supply chain of sugarcane from conventional breeding, transgenic products and 2G ethanol. Headquartered in Piracicaba, state of Sao Paulo, Brazil, CTC began its research in 1969 and currently is a corporation whose shareholders represent 60 percent of the sugarcane grown in Brazil. More information can be found at www.ctc.com.br.
About Benson Hill Biosystems
Benson Hill Biosystems is an agricultural technology company that unlocks the global genetic potential of plants to enhance the sustainability of food, feed, fiber and fuel production. Benson Hill and our partners harness natural and novel genetic variation through breeding, trait development and genome editing to develop products that accelerate crop improvement. More information can be found online at www.bensonhillbio.com. Follow us on Twitter at @BensonHillBio.