Calyxt, a Minnesota, US-based biotechnology company developing advanced gene editing technology for crops including soyabeans, went public and began trading on the Nasdaq market on 20 July.
The company, founded in 2010 as the biotech unit of French gene editing firm Cellectis, is focused on developing genetically improved crops over a varying crop type range, according to a 3 August Feedstuffs report.
At the moment, Calyxt was working on high oleic soyabeans, low saturated fat canola, reduced trans fat soyabean oil, high fibre wheat and herbicide tolerant wheat.
Calyxt CEO Federico Tripodi told Feedstuffs that high oleic soyabeans with zero trans fats and reduced saturated fats were projected to be the company’s first product to reach the market, with introduction scheduled for late 2018.
“Our solution for agriculture biotechnology can provide significant speed and cost advantages compared to the traditional trait development methods employed by the current agriculture industry companies,” said Tripodi.
The company’s TALEN technology allowed it to develop modified products which would not need to be labelled as containing genetically modified organisms, as instead of injecting foreign DNA into plants, it allowed the developer to simply turn genes on or off, Tripodi explained.
With the technology, Calyxt scientists could develop valuable traits through precise modification of plant genomes in three to six years against the industry average of 13 years and could significantly lower the average cost of US$130M to develop modified products.
Tripodi said that currently, the industry was reluctant to even look into developing such crops unless there was a potential to plant “millions of acres” of the final product.
By going public, the company would be able to raise the fund needed for the Calyxt to “supercharge” its R&D capacity, build commercial organisation and create inventory.