Monsanto Co. and Second Genome, Inc. have announced a research agreement to accelerate the discovery of new microbiome-based solutions to help farmers better manage environmental challenges on their farms. The collaboration will leverage Monsanto’s extensive genomic databases with Second Genome’s expertise in analyzing microbial function through big data metagenomics, protein discovery, machine learning, and predictive analytics. This research will immediately expand the sourcing and diversity of novel proteins for the development of next-generation insect-control solutions.
“Data science holds tremendous promise in unlocking new discoveries across our entire research and development pipeline,” said Tom Adams, Ph.D., biotechnology lead for Monsanto. “This collaboration highlights how advances in biology and data science are converging to create opportunities for agriculture to identify new solutions to age-old problems. Through Second Genome’s analytics, we aim to better predict the effectiveness of new applications across our research and crop portfolios.”
Under the agreement, Second Genome will apply its novel bioinformatics platform to predict and analyze the efficacy of beneficial proteins from the microbiome for agricultural use. The companies anticipate that the research will increase the discovery of proteins that could provide an insect-control benefit in agriculture. The multi-year agreement provides Monsanto with the option to pursue commercial opportunities resulting from insect-control research in agriculture, and Second Genome retains the right to apply discoveries in healthcare and other industries. Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
“Similar to its role in human health, microbial function has a significant influence in agricultural applications and new research in microbiome science is likely to unlock new solutions for the agriculture industry,” said Glenn Nedwin, Ph.D., CEO and President at Second Genome. “This collaboration allows us to apply our broad microbiome technology platform with Monsanto’s vast microbial function data to develop new solutions that will contribute to the prosperity of growers in the future. At the same time, we can continue to focus our programs on areas of human health, where our team has demonstrated an ability to discover molecules of interest for major unmet medical needs.”