Oxitec to develop a safe, self-limiting insect capable of reducing pest populations and reversing insect resistance to biotech traits and chemistries
OXFORD, England, April 16, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Oxitec Ltd., a UK-based biotechnology company that pioneered the use of biologically-engineered insects to control disease-spreading mosquitoes and crop-destroying agricultural pests and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Intrexon (NASDAQ: XON), has announced the signing of a new multi-year development agreement with a collaborator to develop a self-limiting soybean looper (Chrysodeixis includens) to suppress this damaging agricultural pest that is found throughout the Americas.
Soybean looper threatens a variety of crops, primarily soybeans as well as cotton, sweet potatoes, peanuts, lettuce, herbs, tomato, tobacco, and others. It has been historically difficult to control due to growing insecticide resistance. Additionally, individual adult females can lay up to 700 eggs each in their lifetime, allowing a small number of insects to exponentially grow in a very short time span. Oxitec's self-limiting soybean looper will leverage the advantages and benefits of Oxitec's 2nd generation technology as part of their commitment to advancing a new global standard for targeted, safe pest management using self-limiting insects.
"Soybean looper threatens crops in the Americas, especially in Brazil and the US, where current control tools are under pressure. It is necessary to rapidly deploy new, safe and targeted technologies," said Grey Frandsen, Chief Executive Officer at Oxitec. "Our targeted biologically-based approach offers the opportunity to suppress this major agricultural pest, prevent widespread crop losses and, perhaps most importantly, complement the newest generations of other valuable pest control methods."
As the need for agricultural productivity increases, so does the need for novel pest management solutions. Oxitec's approach has the potential to counter against insects developing resistance to both new and existing methods of insect control.
"Growers are facing compounding challenges including rising pest populations, growing resistance in pests, and a demand for more efficiencies in production," said Kelly Matzen, Ph.D., Head of Research and Development at Oxitec. "We anticipate that our self-limiting soybean looper will provide growers with a new, effective management option that will help to protect their yields by reducing losses ensuring traditional and new crop protection methods remain effective."
Oxitec's self-limiting approach utilizes proprietary and precision genetics to embed self-limiting properties in agricultural pests, mosquitoes and other insects, providing farmers with safe and effective tools for combating crop-destroying and disease-carrying insects. With 2nd generation technology, insects are designed to enable further scalability and cost-savings to end-users.
With this announcement, soybean looper joins a pipeline of insects that Oxitec is developing globally for crop protection. Oxitec's self-limiting technology platform has already been tested around the world in trials against major agricultural pests and has shown to suppress pest populations in studies carried out with academics and other partners. In some cases, such as fruit, the crop quality increased which holds promise for increases in marketable yield. More information on Oxitec's 2nd generation technology can be found at Oxitec.com.
Oxitec is a pioneer in using genetic engineering to control insect pests that spread disease and damage crops, and was founded in 2002 as a spinout from Oxford University (UK). Oxitec is a subsidiary of Intrexon Corporation (NASDAQ: XON), which engineers biology to help solve some of the world's biggest problems. Follow us on Twitter at @Oxitec, on Facebook, and LinkedIn.
About Intrexon Corporation
Intrexon Corporation (NASDAQ: XON) is Powering the Bioindustrial Revolution with Better DNA™ to create biologically-based products that improve the quality of life and the health of the planet. The company's integrated technology suite provides its partners across diverse markets with industrial-scale design and development of complex biological systems delivering unprecedented control, quality, function, and performance of living cells. We call our synthetic biology approach Better DNA®, and we invite you to discover more at www.dna.com or follow us on Twitter at @Intrexon, on Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Safe Harbor Statement
Some of the statements made in this press release are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon our current expectations and projections about future events and generally relate to our plans, objectives and expectations for the development of our business. Although management believes that the plans and objectives reflected in or suggested by these forward-looking statements are reasonable, all forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties and actual future results may be materially different from the plans, objectives and expectations expressed in this press release.
SOURCE Oxitec Ltd.