Genome Editing Technology to Increase Crop Yields, Stress Tolerance & Shelf Life
ATI applies genetic technology proven to increase crop yields, reduce plant disease, boost stress tolerance & extend product shelf life.
I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.
Agribody Technologies, Inc.
Established (the solution has passed the previous stages and demonstrated success)
Annual budget in 2017 (USD)
Number of beneficiaries impacted so far
Headquarters location: Country
Headquarters location: City
Location(s) of impact
Wisconsin (alfalfa), Idaho (potatoes), Saskatchewan (canola), Iowa (rice)
Replicated field trial of ultra-high yielding alfalfa
Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?
Demand for high-quality low-cost food is increasing due to population growth, along with decreasing availability of good arable land. Extreme weather continues to cause more frequent and severe food shortages. Farmers and their seed company suppliers must prepare for these profound changes by substantially increasing the efficiency of food production and storage under normal and stressed conditions. ATI’s patent protected genome editing (GE) is an important methodology to help meet these needs in many key crop plants.
Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?
Agribody Technologies’ extensive IP covers a key genetic switch with broad applications in multiple plant species. Crop plants will be improved through genome editing of either of two genes (↑ eIF-5A or ↓ DHS) whose ratio of protein products determines whether the cell will either grow and divide or enter apoptosis and die. These stable genetic changes will significantly enhance crop traits, including: (1) delayed senescence/fruit ripening/spoilage leading to extended shelf life of perishable produce; (2) enhanced tolerance to diseases and stress (drought, heat, cold, salt, low nutrients, crowding); and most importantly (3) increased biomass and seed yields. We have 2 years of replicated field trial data in alfalfa (3rd largest US crop) showing unprecedented 20–45% yield increases in an elite commercial variety with limited or no loss of quality.
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work
Personally, almost my entire career has led to this opportunity to co-found, lead and grow ATI. My extensive technical capabilities, continually honing business and interpersonal skills, passion combined with focus, and strong work ethic will help my team to spread a disruptive genetic technology that provides critical help in helping farmers deal with population growth, climate change, and little to no growth in cropland availability. See this article with embedded video: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/business/biotech/sdut-life-science-biotech-industry-sector-innovation-2016sep13-htmlstory.html. The Yield Lab also produced an interesting video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysSkUH8-elQ
Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?
Invested capital (70%)
Earned income (30%)
Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?
Many other companies are trying to improve crop yields. Some look at improving photosynthetic efficiency. Others study stress tolerance, pathogen tolerance or extended shelf life. ATI is the only one that has a single genetic change that handles all of them. The scope of what we can achieve by a single genetic change is the broadest. Our disruption of the alfalfa industry could be replicated in several other crops as they get to field trials and we can show the universality of this trait.
Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.
In August 2015, the company was established after I was hired as a consultant for a breast cancer therapeutics company that inherited substantial Ag Biotech assets (patents and licenses) as a result of a corporate merger. I was very impressed by the intellectual property, talked about their value, and subsequently asked to purchase all these assets instead of licensing on their behalf. ATI’s patent protected genetic plant technology is a field-tested approach to increasing plant yields and tolerance to diseases and abiotic stress in many key crop plants that has global implications for helping to increase food security.
Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?