We are a leading agricultural biotechnology company that develops biological approaches to crop protection to address the challenges associated with Sustainable Agriculture. Our business is the development and commercialization of gene edited plant traits that manage challenges like crop diseases by enabling crops with durable resistance to diseases, as opposed to the traditional use of chemicals such as fungicides to combat them.
Cibus was founded in 2001, the same year that Europe effectively banned the use of GMO technologies. Because of these global GMO restrictions, GMO markets were limited and, when available, GMO traits were both expensive and time consuming to breed and commercialize. Our vision was the development of a new generation of technologies that addressed the concerns associated with GMO.
Specifically, our vision was to be leaders in the development of gene editing technologies that mimic the process by which genomic change occurs in nature. Because plant traits from these technologies are indistinguishable from traits that occur in nature, we believed that gene edited traits would be regulating as traits developed using traditional breeding. This is the driver of the global regulatory processes that are differentiating gene editing from GMO technologies.
Because of the potential accuracy, speed and range of traits that could be developed via gene editing versus traditional breeding, we believed that once developed these technologies would revolutionize breeding and accelerate the pace of innovation in agriculture.
This is one of the principal reasons that gene editing is cited as an essential technology to address the negative environmental impacts of agriculture and to develop a more sustainable food supply system. This is our vision.
We have built an industry-leading new breeding platform, based on gene editing technologies. Our platform is called RTDS®, Rapid Trait Development System®. RTDS is a family of technologies that are protected by over 300 patents and patent applications that cover multiple layers of intellectual property. It represents a system of technologies that integrates crop specific biological platforms with a series of gene editing technologies enabling trait development and their introgression into elite germplasm from our breeding partners with our automated Trait Machine™.
From the beginning, our focus has been on the development of ODM (or, Oligonucleotide-Directed Mutagenesis) technology. ODM is a key part of RTDS. We were excited to see that, in the recent EU (European Union) study on the safety of gene edited traits and the Study Report that followed, our proprietary ODM technology was prominently referenced and cited as one of the platform technologies of this new industry. Importantly, it is cited that ODM as well as other key components of our RTDS technology platform do not pose more hazards than conventional breeding. This EU study is an important milestone in the ultimate goal of global standards for gene editing.
We are in the crop protection business. Our products are Crop Protection Traits. Trait products are specific (precisely edited) genetic sequences associated with a specific characteristic in a specific crop. Crop Protection Traits are trait products within a specific crop that enable famers to have higher yields and reduce the use of Crop Protection Chemicals to manage challenges with diseases, insects/nematodes and weeds.
Our focus is a new generation of trait products that reduce the use of chemical inputs such as herbicides, fungicides and insecticides (often known as input traits) while maintaining or increasing crop yields and agronomic traits that enable plants to better withstand the environment in which they are grown. Our current target trait platforms are disease resistance traits and herbicide tolerance traits. Our lead product is an agronomic trait: Pod Shatter Reduction in canola.
Disease resistance traits are important because they are the greatest cause of crop loss next to weeds. Disease is an area that GMO technologies have not been able to readily address. Herbicide tolerance trait products are important because in many crops and in many markets like the EU there are no herbicide tolerance traits. These traits are essential tools in reducing herbicide use and improving farming yields.